Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. There is a 999 call from a family trapped upstairs by fire.
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Today on Real Rescues - a terrified family struggles to breathe as fire sweeps through their home.
And what's that mewing under the decking?
One little, tiny kitten.
Oh, you nasty little thing. OK, you can bite. That's nice.
We follow the rescue of two trapped kittens as their mum watches on helpless from the sidelines.
Hello. This is Real Rescues. The team in this ambulance control room
near Winchester work up to ten hour shifts and are rarely off the phone.
That's right, each of the 999 call handlers average about 40 calls a shift.
As you can hear, if you listen,
very busy in here today. Let's see what sort of calls have been coming in, Shall we?
Let's see if we can grab a word with Kelly who doesn't appear to be on the phone.
-Anything interesting for us?
-Yes, we just had
an electrocution come through and Julie will tell you all about it.
Julie is over there.
Hello. On the phone, not on the phone. Electrocution?
That's right. We are attending a lady who has touched a bare wire
which was exposed on a freezer in a local store
-so we sent an RRV to sort her out at the moment.
-Any symptoms yet?
Heart racing. She's complaining that her heart is racing.
Is that standard reaction to an electric shock?
Yes. That's why we've deployed a rapid response vehicle so hopefully they'll be with her really soon now.
We'll try and keep you updated with that as we go on through the day.
-Now just by looking at the wreckage of an accident skilled
medics can work out how serious the injuries are likely to be.
The way debris is scattered or the shape of dents in the
vehicle can point to the internal injuries a victim may have suffered.
In the rescue we are about to see a motorcyclist collided with a 4x4.
The wreckage around the crash is an ominous sign.
It's late afternoon and acting sergeant Tony Flatman
has been called as back-up to a serious motorbike accident.
We're going to a Land Rover versus motorcycle accident
reported that the motorcyclist is unconscious with serious injuries.
It's happened on a fast, country A-road outside a car breaker's yard,
scattering debris all over the tarmac.
Tony is brought up-to-date by PC Paul Barrett while critical
care doctor, Deirdre Dunbar, starts examining the injured motorcyclist.
Paramedics from the air and land ambulance are also on the scene.
Got it? Steady, slide, perfect.
I could see his motorbike on the ground, the extent of the damage
to the Land Rover and I was really quite concerned that Andy had suffered some very serious injuries.
I was particularly concerned about his head, having seen the state of his helmet.
It was a call from staff of the garage that got them all here within minutes.
I heard a big bang, looked around to see a motorbike up in the air.
Came rushing out and the man lay on bonnet just groaning
and then blood started coming out from his visor.
He looked in a terrible state so I went back and dialled 999
and everything evolved from there.
Amazingly the injured man, Andy, is conscious and able to talk to the emergency team.
I was surprised to actually see that he was alert, he was conversing with the paramedics.
So that was quite reassuring, but one can't be led into a false sense of
security because sometimes these patients can go off very quickly.
Paul keeps Tony informed.
Andy's responses and level of consciousness give every indication that he will recover.
Dr Dunbar and the ambulance teams cut away Andy's leathers in order to examine him more fully.
There's quite a bit of bruising around the lower femur there.
Stitch your cheek up
and see you will be out by tea-time.
Maybe not quite that quick!
They strap him on to the board and he is ready to be taken to the Queen Alexander hospital in Portsmouth.
The emergency team know just how serious this kind of impact can be for a motorcyclist.
They're thankful that he was wearing the right gear.
Whether he's actually rolled slightly on the bonnet...
Rather than being flung straight on.
That probably dissipated some of the energy.
I'm flabbergasted the fact that he has escaped quite so lightly, but he was wearing
very good protective equipment and I'm sure that played a very
large part in actually minimising the extent of the injuries that happened.
The driver of the Land Rover is in the police car where Paul has carried out an initial interview.
He's very shaken up a the moment which is understandable
seeing someone has gone through
his windscreen, but it's a case of me now going away, speaking to
witnesses and piecing all the pieces together and going from there to see where the investigation goes.
With Andy safely on his way to hospital, the yard can take charge of the clear-up.
They're used to recovering vehicles from road accidents, but not from one so close to home.
Head injuries bleed a lot from the head and they always look a lot more severe than they are.
It was a nasty cut.
We thought he was a goner.
Thank you very much for your help and your assistance.
With the road now cleared, it can be fully reopened and the police officers can leave the scene.
Tony will check on Andy's condition later in the day.
Andy is here to talk us through it and I have to say you are sat looking perfectly normal for
a man who has actually taken out the front of a Land Rover is incredible.
Yeah. I didn't think so at the time.
I know, because
I've had bike accidents.
The first thing, it's all a bit confusing. What did you first think?
They said you were lying on the bonnet groaning.
Well, I knew I was going to have the crash.
There's that instant when you know.
Obviously I was on the bonnet, there was blood pouring into my mouth.
-I was spitting it out and initially I thought I was paralysed.
I didn't know where my arms were.
I thought they were underneath me.
Then because of the pain I realised I wasn't and I just wanted to get off and try and get comfortable, really.
We heard about there was a lot of blood coming from the visor, you were wearing a full faced helmet.
Is it the mark we can see over your cheek? Do you mind us having a look?
-Come in closer, you can see the mark over your cheek so what did that, do you know?
I have no idea what it was, if it was the windscreen or the visor, it was quite a messy cut.
It was more like something smashed into it.
We can bring up a couple of stills for you to look at.
That's the front of the vehicle and you've taken the wing off that
and these things are built to go through trees and things.
It's extraordinary that you could have actually survived that.
Actually seeing that, it's quite incredible, really.
But a lot is down to what you were wearing,
we always go on this programme about wearing the right kit.
Don't go out without it, full leathers, full crash helmet and gloves, everything.
Because the knee cuffs, the armour in your knees might have protected
your knees and that?
Yes, the fuel tank was totally caved in so that probably saved my knee.
Presumably no more biking?
-No, yeah, yeah. Back on the bike.
-You've got a new bike already?
-Yeah, I got it
-back in October.
-That's before you could ride it?
-No, the guy delivered it for me.
That was very nice of him.
-He brought it up.
-If you are a biker, you are a biker and there's no getting away from it.
Thank you very much for coming in and talking to us today.
Now, later on, Deirdre Dunbar, the specialist emergency doctor who treated Andy that you saw in that
film will be here to explain how important roadside treatment can be in the first hour after an accident.
It's often called the golden hour.
I want to talk to Matt here about a call that came in and actually show
you some of the really interesting equipment.
A commuter was seen falling off a wall. What happened to him?
He was waiting for his morning train.
He had fallen off a wall and started fitting.
Straightaway we realised his breathing wasn't effective after he had stopped fitting.
So you start up this piece of equipment here.
We've got a tool here which shows us, we can determine if a patient is breathing.
-I need you to tell me every time they take a breath and start from now.
-You already started it.
We wait for the intervals and as soon as it starts going orange, that's a warning light for us.
These could be the patient's last breaths.
At the end, once we have evaluated the breathing, it will come up and
let us know it's not effective and straight away we have to start CPR.
This is a good way of you being able to measure while they are on the phone the gaps between the breathing.
And when you say those could have been his last breaths, you see this come up amber or orange.
Once it's orange that's a warning light for us so we know we have to do something to help the patient.
-So in this situation we start doing CPR.
-Between you and the call.
I give instructions for CPR over the phone. The caller
managed to get him back. A good result and he started breathing again.
Good work. Thank you.
Now the smoke from fires causes more deaths than just flames.
Just a few breaths of toxic fumes can kill.
We're about to hear the recording of a 999 call where a family are woken by smoke pouring into their bedrooms.
This is a harrowing call, but just so you know, everyone in this fire
escaped unharmed, but you can clearly hear the effects of that smoke.
Well, the terrified family wait for help to arrive in mum and dad's bedroom, but they can't
escape from the smoke and remember, everyone did get out, but this is a tough call to listen to.
Well, the family are now trapped.
Even with the window open, the smoke is overwhelming.
The fire is raging below them and time is running out.
Well, goodness me, we have the people who were on that call - Brian,
Dawn and Louise, who was taking the call as well.
Brian, you were incredibly calm during all of that and what is it like watching it back?
-Is it? Why is that then?
-It brings back a lot of memories.
I am sure it does. How bad did you think this was going to get? You were really scared, were you?
I didn't think we were going to get out, especially when I had trouble getting
the window open but don't ask me how it opened, but we managed to break the lock and get out.
Dawn, you were finding it difficult to speak
on the phone. Was that because you were scared or because you couldn't breathe because of the smoke?
It was a bit of both, really. I was really scared for the children.
Obviously they were all crying and upset and we just wanted to get that window open.
-How had you woken up in the first place?
-I smelt smoke
and I tried to rouse Dawn, but couldn't
so I went to investigate and found the downstairs door was open
and all the stairwell was full of smoke so my first reaction was get down there and shut the door.
Yeah. Yep, yep.
-And that was it.
-You phoned 999 and you got Louise on the phone.
You were very calm as well during this whole call.
It's something you train for, but not what you expect, I guess?
We do get really intense training, but it never prepares you
for an actual person and each situation is going to be different, different circumstances,
but Brian did everything I asked him to do.
He was so calm, which makes my job a lot easier because he is rational,
and we can pass the information on to the crews and they know exactly where they have to rescue them.
At that stage you know there are four of them and they are all trapped in an upstairs bedroom.
Did you really fear for their lives?
Well, yeah, you get a rough idea listening to them coughing and
the frustration because you can't do any more apart from give them
the basic fire survival, how to keep the smoke out, what to expect when the crews get there that they could
have been going out the window, you know, to prepare them for two little boys, that might be quite scary.
Yes, absolutely. How were the boys when they went out?
-Where they OK, Dawn?
-They were OK.
They all had oxygen when we went to hospital, but they were fine.
And just being in that room with a fire raging down below, Brian
said he didn't think you were going to get out. Did you feel the same?
I was just really scared, same as the boys were, but I had to try and be as calm as possible for them.
Calm for them, yeah. Interestingly, Brian you had some fire training just beforehand?
-About two weeks before.
-How did that help you in this situation?
Absolutely fantastic, you just go on autopilot.
What did you know to do then?
They gave you step by step instructions.
Shut all doors.
-Block off any exit for smoke to come in under the doors, get
everybody in one room and basically get as much ventilation as you can.
Yes, and you were incredibly calm so maybe that helped you give that calmness.
Well, I had a calm lady on the other end of the phone.
You did. Fantastic.
Working on Real Rescues and the firefighters always say to me that at home we should all play a game
with our children whereby they try to get to their parents' room with their eyes closed which is really important
because then they are aware where the phone is as well. Thank you, all.
Still to come on Real Rescues: It's only a small cut, but the bleeding won't stop.
He may not want to go, but this man needs hospital treatment.
A workshop used to restore historic steam engines goes up in flames.
Inside are gas canisters, an explosive nightmare for firefighters.
And the heat, it will basically go off like a bomb.
And people, you know, close to it will get killed, there is no doubt about it.
Recently, animal rescue expert Anton Philips was called to a back garden.
A pet dog alerted the owner that some stray kittens have taken up residence under the decking.
Anton has got his work cut out.
Anton is responding to a call from the RSPCA already at the address.
They've asked him to arrive tooled up, a tricky job may be in store.
I've been called to some kittens that have been born to a stray.
The stray has crept in under these people's
decking and had their kittens underneath so I have no idea how old they are.
The RSPCA man thinks they are probably
one to two weeks old. We could find that they've still got their eyes shut. We will see.
The home-owner Paula has been unable to get to the kittens and there's been no sign of their mother.
We can in actual fact see the track where she's been in and out a lot.
What identified that the cats were under here? Did you hear them?
-Or was it the dog?
The dog was just barking and barking
and that's when I came out, I just saw a paw come out from underneath the decking and swipe him.
We've got builders working here at the moment and you can see the machines there swinging,
that's probably what's spooked her to put these cats under here in the first place.
Adam from the RSPCA has identified one that's over the far side, a black one, that's down through
the slats and we've got a white one enclosed here so I'm going to
literally take the end off and hopefully give them some space.
They may come out on their own if they're
old enough, but I suspect that they'll probably run out the back,
get away and hide.
-Anton's DIY skills will be tested.
All this for kittens, eh?
Is it coming right off?
Super. There we go.
They've exposed the white kitten, it seems in no mood to run.
If I scruff it and take it out,
and then I shall give it to her adult. Here we go.
It's a little tiddler, that's a tiny, tiny young cat.
It's a bit mucky around the eyes, but I'm sure after a little clean-up
down the Arc, it'll be absolutely fine. A nice
little cat, actually.
There we go. Let's pop it in there. There we go.
But getting to the other kitten won't be so straightforward.
Yep, I've got it.
Neighbour Sarah and her daughter have already taken to the white one, but both kittens are very young, cold and
clearly frightened, and need to be taken to the animal rescue shelter.
That's literally a week or two weeks, maybe two weeks.
So he's been under there all that time.
Well, obviously, mother is going in and out and feeding them somehow,
but at the end of the day, they can't stay there.
I got you. Nice and steady. Here we go.
One little tiny kitten.
Oh, you nasty little thing.
All right. OK, you can bite. That's nice.
You blooming thing.
Why do cats always want to bite me?
With both kittens accounted for, Anton and Adam prepare to leave, but then the anxious mother turns up.
This gives them a problem as ideally they don't want to break up the family.
There's mother over on the top, look. She's just waiting.
What do you think, Adam?
I could have a go. Go into that if there's no-one in that other garden.
If she's that stray and she's been out for a long time, she'll be pretty agile.
This is going to be highly entertaining, but
quite frankly I'm not expecting any success.
The best thing for them at the moment is to get to a vet
and of course, if the mother can go too, that would be even better.
From previous experience, Anton knows trying to trap a feral cat will be an extremely difficult task.
He and Adam will attempt a two-pronged attack.
Well, the cat has decided to walk off into the back alley, which is exactly what I thought it might do.
Adam is coming in from the other side. I don't anticipate we'll get anywhere near it, but...
Are you there, mate?
I'll go back through and see if we can get her from the other side.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of places for a cat to hide.
This cat has dropped into here. I think it's probably gone over the other side, but we'll have a look.
These builders have got used to the cat watching them work.
He normally sits on that roof.
It wouldn't stay here with you guys.
Then a sighting.
She's sat in an alley just here just by that wendy house.
She's just sat on the floor.
A change of plan.
What I'll do, I'll go back to the animal centre and get a cat trap and
hopefully catch her that way, and hopefully we can reunite her with her kittens if the cat trap works.
She's a pretty quick cat.
Too quick for me with this net.
She's not gone down there?
She went that way. She jumped over the fence and legged it that way.
-You know, bung a cat trap with a bit of grub and...
-Fingers crossed, we'll catch her.
And you'll pick her up in 24 hours or less.
Adam and Anton agree that for now the best thing to do is to get the kittens to the shelter right away.
-There you go.
-I've got your number.
I'll give a ring about the cat trap.
And then just give us a ring when we catch it and we'll get them reunited. All right then?
-Hope they're OK.
Ah, the kittens were taken to the RSPCA hospital and reunited with their mother.
On Real Rescues we often see the work of the critical care Basics doctors, Basics is
a charity made up of volunteer doctors who can provide medicine, even surgery at the roadside.
The key period following a serious injury is called the golden hour
when high level medical treatment can save lives.
Phil Hyde and Deirdre Dunbar are here. Hi to you both.
Let's talk about that golden hour, it really can make the difference, can it, between life and death?
It can indeed. When you're dealing with patients who have had
significant trauma and they can be the sickest patients within the NHS.
Statistics tell us that actually it often takes an hour for those
patients to go from the scene of their injury to the hospital.
Now that hour is the critical time when we can prevent some of the secondary damage that can arise.
As you're aware, trauma is the leading cause of death in the under
40s so we're dealing with a young population and by far the major injury often is head injuries.
OK, and Phil, you've got a specific example where you've used equipment
like this, when a 14-year-old had a serious fall. What happened?
Yes, he was a young chap and tried
to jump between two houses, and fell a couple of storeys on to his face
and so then had a really nasty blow to his head, but also he fractured all the bones in his face.
There was lots of bleeding into his mouth.
So what were you able to do then?
And you've got the piece of equipment here, haven't you, that you use?
His immediate problem was that he was dying because there was too much
blood in his airway so he couldn't breathe so he
needed help to breathe, but he was still alive at that point.
So what I was able to do for him was give him a general anaesthetic and put a breathing tube into his
windpipe and put him on a breathing machine, which took away the problem with the blood in his airway.
And then to reduce the bleeding, we used this device
and so this is just a little balloon which goes into the nose and slides backwards, and then you blow it up.
By blowing it up, blowing a balloon up, it presses
inside where I can't press on the bleeding and stops the bleeding.
The problem with that is you imagine if the bones of the face are broken then they'll slip down
and so you actually have to put one of these in, which is a bite block to stop the bones pushing down.
You carry... All of you have that particular kit.
You have another piece of kit which is terrifying me, actually.
If you're afraid of needles, you may not want to look at this.
This is a device, if we've patients who have bled a lot and we're unable to put a cannula into the usual
areas, we can sometimes use this piece of kit that's supplied by the charity to our volunteer doctors.
-It's a bit like a...
-It's like a Black and Decker drill, essentially.
I was talking to Andy the motorcyclist, if he'd had...
You'd maybe use this on him if he'd had a very serious injury.
If I was worried that he'd a lot
of blood loss and that was compromising
perhaps a head injury then I could have used this device at the scene to improve his chances.
OK, so how do you use it then?
Without using it!
-You're not offering to...
-No, I'm not offering at all!
Look away if you don't like needles.
That bit's like a Black and Decker drill. That's attached.
That will go into your arm, and then we could administer some fluids
or some drugs through that access point and as I say, it's a standard
piece of equipment for our Basics doctors.
Thank you very much for coming to talk to us. I know you're busy
so I'll let you go and you can take that with you. Thank you.
A quick update on emergency earlier, the lady
who got electrocuted at the supermarket.
Fine, treated on scene, gone home.
However, we've had another quick one come in now which we can ask Julie about.
Right, the first details that came in was a caller said something bad has happened. They've been investigating.
It transpires that a 55-year-old male has fallen from some scaffolding.
There's a crew on scene with this patient and they have asked for the heli-med to attend.
We've deployed heli-med and that's as far as we've got at the moment.
We'll try and find out by the end of the programme whether the heli-med,
that's the helicopter, gets there and how it progresses from there.
When Ian Lamb cut his hand in the garden, it didn't look much.
He thought a plaster would do the trick, but even the smallest cut
can cause complications, especially when it won't stop bleeding.
Paramedic Ross Smith is heading out to a man who has injured himself doing a bit of DIY in the garden.
We're going to a gentleman in his 50s.
Apparently, he's injured his hand gardening.
It sounds like he's stabbed his hand with something.
Hand injuries are very serious because there are lots
of nerves, ligaments and tendons that run through your hands.
That forms, obviously, the movement.
When he gets there, he finds Ian in the bathroom.
-He's wrapped his hand in a towel after blood splurted out of the injury.
-What have you done then?
I was in the garden.
I had an accident with a knife, I was cutting some tape.
-It's gone on top of me hand so I phoned my doctors hoping I could
go down there, but they said no, I'd have to phone you.
I didn't want a fuss.
That's OK. We'll have a look in a second. Did you go to the top of the hand or in this way?
Between the thumb and the finger.
Point on there. So between those two bits there. Was it a knife or something?
-Yes, a sharp knife.
-And the knife's not in there now, I take it?
Did you see any blood spurting?
-I can see the blood on the floor.
Right, let me get a bandage ready first.
When I take it off, I want to get it straight on and we'll have a little look.
Ross can tell by the amount of blood in the bathroom that Ian
must have sustained a nasty cut, but even he's surprised by how much it's bleeding when he removes the towel.
Right, where are we? OK.
-A little spurt.
-Yeah, it was, yeah.
You've just hit a little...
Ross needs to heavily bandage the hand in a bid to stem the bleeding.
Right, keep your hand up. Up.
Ian has cut into an artery and the blood is soaking through
the bandages as quickly as Ross can wrap it.
-Answer it if you want.
Ian's wife is rushing home and has called through.
-Am I going to hospital?
-Yeah, you have to go, yeah.
-In the ambulance?
-No, if your wife can...
If you can take me, we can go to QA, Barbara, or whatever.
OK, then. Right, thanks.
-How long is she going to be?
-A few minutes.
-Oh, cool. I'm going to put another bandage on.
Hold it up like that. Can you feel your thumb?
-Yeah, I'm fine, mate.
The force of the blood is stopping it from clotting.
Veins generally ooze and it's darker blood and this is bright red blood and it's squirting.
He's got a small arterial bleed.
Some good pressure, it's still coming through the bandage.
I'll put another one on just to give some more pressure and his
wife is literally two minutes so it should be quicker going straight in the car up to the hospital.
A big boxing glove on here, Ian, sorry about that.
Right, so no delays, get in the car and go straight over to QA
-and go into the accident and emergency department.
And they'll take it from there.
The higher Ian keeps his arm, the lower the pressure of the blood pumping to his hand.
Ross fits a sling to help him hold it up and reduce the bleeding.
Before they leave, Ross wants to have a look at the blade that caused all the trouble.
OK, so it's just a normal vegetable knife, wasn't it?
I was cutting the tape from there
to do a repair and as I did it, it came down awkwardly.
It looks dirty, so again you'd be surprised how infected wounds can get
from objects like that.
Ian's wife Barbara has arrived ready to act as his emergency taxi.
-Thanks for your help.
Take care next time, Ian. Wear gloves or something, you know?
Ian requires hospital treatment to clean his wound properly as there's always a risk of infection.
Luckily, he's right-hand dominant and that's his left-hand, and he's not
a watch maker, he's a lorry driver, he still needs his hands to work
but it's not on the palm of his hand so he can still technically operate
even if they put a few sutures on the back of his hand.
If they go straight to QA now, the local hospital, there's
no reason why that can't be sorted out in a few hours.
We thought as there was so much blood involved in that particular story that we'd talk about blood
and related issues so we've got Julian to talk to us here.
Three types of bleeding, apparently?
Yes, that's true. There's capillary bleeding which is abrasions
and things when you scuff your knee.
Venous bleeding from a vein, which often is dark in colour,
dark red blood which will pour out slowly
and then you've got arterial bleeding which is probably the one you see on all the movies where somebody
cuts themselves and the blood is squirting across the room, and that's where, with every heartbeat,
-it shoots out.
-How do you stop bleeding?
We saw they were having difficulty there. Is it just about pressure?
I think that's the thing. It doesn't matter what type of bleeding it is, the best way to stop
any sort of bleeding is to apply direct pressure to it.
So, for instance, if it's also something on a leg or an arm,
if you apply direct pressure and elevate the arm or the leg,
that will slow the bleeding down.
If you can get it above the heart, the heart is having to pump uphill so you will lose...
-Exactly right, yep.
-Interesting as well, because a little bit of blood can look like a lot, can't it?
It can and different parts of the body bleed more as well.
The head is vascular, so if you get a small cut on the head,
it'll always look quite bad, but it may not necessarily be that way.
Well, oddly enough Louise carried out a demonstration of this just recently. Take a look at this.
What I've got here is a coffee cup with ink on it and I'm going to spill
it on the floor so we can get an idea of what it might look like.
Oh, my goodness, so that's a very small amount and I'd be extremely worried if I saw that.
That's about 50 mls and for an adult that's not a problem for us to lose.
There you go. A little bit of blood can go a long way, but that was obviously ink.
The last thing is, if you get a really heavy bleed,
we've seen in the programme, people starting to use tourniquets at home.
It's not something you should use at home, is it?
It's not something we'd recommend to anyone to do.
If you put a tourniquet on a leg or an arm, you can create other problems in addition.
-We'd just say to anybody...
And if it's a serious bleed, 999 and call us and we'll come and deal.
Lovely. Talking of serious bleeds,
-Louise has got a little story connected.
-I have indeed.
Holly here, who's a call taker, you cut your own artery, didn't you?
What happened? You were cleaning your caravan?
I was spring cleaning my caravan
and I put my arm through the glass window trying to open it to let some
air in and just a little bit of glass sort of nipped the artery and it went into my skin.
How did you know it was an arterial bleed?
I could tell by the way it was bleeding, squirting out across the room.
Gosh, your mum was luckily there, wasn't she?
Yes, my mum was there and my friend was there and I just put a lot of
pressure on it, and my mum rushed me to hospital.
You say it was a tiny cut, we can just see the scar.
It's tiny, a designer cut, but it caused a lot of damage, didn't it?
Yes, I had to have a blood transfusion and I was put on drips as well.
And how are you with glass?
I can't stand breaking glass.
It freaks me out a little bit.
I'm not surprised. It's extraordinary that.
-A tiny little cut but it could be that frightening.
Excellent. One of the first things firefighters need to know about a burning building is what's inside.
Apart from gas bottles, paint tins and the like, even innocent sounding substances like saw dust,
flour and sugar can explode when they're on fire.
When a workshop where they restore old steam engines went up in flames,
firefighters knew they had their work cut out.
Hampshire firefighters have been called to reports of smoke and flames coming from a railway station.
It's on the Watercress Line, a major tourist attraction that runs steam trains in Hampshire.
Retained fireman Peter Roach was on duty that evening.
I could see smoke coming up from the station, which we were probably half a mile away at that time.
As they arrive they find the workshop behind the station on fire.
It's where the train carriages are stored and it's used for welding so there are cylinders inside.
This creates a huge risk of explosion.
The heat, it'll go off, basically,
like a bomb and people, you know, close to it will get killed.
There's no doubt about it.
So it's a big danger to us.
We could see smoke coming out of the doors at the front, which were roller shuttered doors,
and smoke coming out of the roof.
The metal shutters are securely locked and there's no way of getting
into the workshop through the smaller side doors.
Group manager, Dave Loch, immediately sets up a 200 metre exclusion zone.
It's extremely dangerous because
you don't know how long it's been involved in fire, and you don't know
when it's going to explode at all, so from that point of view, we take extreme safety measures.
By now, information is coming in that the workshop is divided by a wall into two separate sections.
So far, the fire is contained in the front half.
The acetylene cylinders are kept in the rear half so they won't have heated up to dangerous levels.
They must stop the fire spreading to the back of the building.
Dave issues instructions to the firefighters at the bridge end.
Their role was to make an entry into the fireside.
Once they'd made an entry into the fireside they reported back to inform us that the fire hadn't
spread to that end and they could actually see the acetylene cylinder that was in there.
I had a hazardous material officer attend
and he went and checked the cylinder and confirmed that the cylinder hadn't been involved in fire.
The danger of explosion has gone, but they still have to stop
the fire from spreading to the rest of the building.
First, they have to cut their way through all the metal doors
so that, as well as fighting the fire from outside, they can get to the point where it started.
The visibility in there was extremely poor so you couldn't see very much at all.
We'd been informed there was a carriage on the left-hand side, that was the main area of fire,
that smoke was virtually down to the ground.
Getting enough water has been difficult.
There isn't a supply down by the station.
Now they've set up an inflatable dam.
The water carrier arrived and dumped its 11,000 litres of water in the dam.
The water appliance then pumped out of the dam and put its water on to the fire.
While the water carrier then can go off and refill from that fuel station.
But the fire has now been going for nearly two hours.
There's no chance of saving the front half of the building, but the
other side where the acetylene cylinder was has escaped the flames and the aim is now to keep it safe.
Throughout the evening, over 50 men continue to pour water on to this building.
And some remain throughout the night just to make sure nothing flares up again.
After 14 hours, the last firefighter can finally leave.
They've managed to contain the blaze to the front half of the building.
The roof had collapsed, the wall panels had gone.
When you think, within that area, was totally destroyed.
However, the other end was fairly well intact.
Astonishingly, the next morning the trains are up and running on the Watercress Line.
Passengers can see the utter devastation to the building.
But, at the far side, there's little damage to see
and the fire was prevented from destroying the line or the station.
We've just got an update on
the heli-med, which is the helicopter with a medical team
on board who go to the emergencies and are on site now with the builder who fell off the scaffold.
I always feel terribly sorry when I hear of those, obviously being involved with builders a lot.
One of my builders fell off a scaffold this year and was out for six months with related injuries.
-It's very dangerous, building and scaffold in particular.
-Yes, better now.
I was talking to Louise, the call taker from that fire, she was telling me about what we should practise at
home, because we have fire drills at work and at school, but we never think about doing it at home.
She says your children, if they're little, need to know how to get
to the parents' bedroom in the dark so you should practise it as a game.
And on your hands and knees, apparently, because smoke always goes up to the ceiling,
and if you make it a game and make them crawl on their hands and knees, they'll keep out of the smoke.
You should think about where you'll escape to as well, and where the phone is.
So there are three key things to think about.
Also check your fire alarms and make sure they're working.
Batteries, check them regularly.
We'll have more Real Rescues for you very, very soon.
Yes, we'll see you then. Goodbye.
Subtitles by RED BEE MEDIA LTD
Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services, going behind the scenes at one of Britain's biggest police control centres.
There is a dramatic 999 call from a family trapped upstairs by fire.