Series following the work of the emergency services. Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin look at the horrors of coming home to find your house on fire.
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Today, just days after starting his new job on a building site,
Simon traps his hand under an iron girder.
He pulls his glove off and realises something's seriously wrong.
-I just don't want to see it again.
It's all wrapped up at the moment, so you're not going to.
And the 14-year-old that escapes a house fire and raises the alarm.
Where's my child? Where's my baby?
Your daughter? She's up there.
'Mum's relieved to find her daughter safe but horrified to find she's lost her home.'
Welcome to Real Rescues. We're in South Central Ambulance Control.
Yes, and we were just talking about the fact that
the people who do their jobs here do an extraordinary job.
We do what we do and go home, you do what you do and go home...
-But they make a difference.
-A huge difference.
Come through this way. We're going to have a chat with Julie, who hasn't got her headset on.
We're talking about how you can make a genuine difference to people's lives with these calls.
-You had one recently.
-That's right. We got a call from a golf course
for a young gentleman that had been taken ill.
Short of breath, chest pains.
Luckily, I had a first responder who attended to this gentleman in three minutes.
So we are very privileged to have people like that in the community.
Three minutes is extraordinary. You can actually get to someone that quick.
-It massively increases their chances of survival. He was having a heart attack.
Do you go home... This is difficult for you to say,
but do you not go home and think, "Wow, I saved someone's life today"?
-Yeah. Yeah, it is good.
-Is it not the coolest job in the world?
It is the coolest job in the world. It is. It does make a difference.
We are not actually on scene with these patients but we know the people we're sending to them
are giving these people the best chance that they possibly can give.
Extraordinary. Makes it all the more annoying when people misuse the service and waste people's time.
Simon has just started his new job on a building site.
He's shifting heavy iron girders when suddenly his hand gets caught.
Quickly, he pulls it out of the way, but it's not quickly enough.
'Dan Major is working alone in the rapid-response car.
'It's a warm summer day and a call has come through about an accident
'on a building site.'
We're going to a male who's apparently trapped his finger
and possibly amputated it.
If we're able to find the finger then we'll try and keep it with the patient
and try and keep it cool if we can
and hopefully try and get it back to the hospital
as quickly as possible.
'Dan arrives at the site to see an emergency co-responder from the fire service is already there.
'He finds Simon sitting where the accident happened.
'His hand is bloodied and he's shaking from the trauma.'
-OK, how old are you, mate?
'He's lost part of the ring finger on his right hand
'after he trapped it under a metal beam.
'The missing tip was found in the glove.'
What he'd actually done was trapped it between two iron girders.
He had a glove on at the time.
As the girders have come down onto his hand,
he's pulled his hand away, his hand has come away,
but it's left the glove and the digit of the finger left inside the glove, trapped.
'All Simon's concentration is focused on dealing with the pain,
'but he tries to answer Dan's questions.'
Simon, is it fairly clean?
-Or have you not really looked at it?
-Yeah, it is, I think.
It is fairly clean. So it was underneath that?
-On the lorry.
-On the lorry, was it? So it wasn't in dirt...
I'm just going to pop a blanket round you, my friend. All right?
'Colin has already given him oxygen.'
Bit of TLC, really, just to calm him down, try and reassure him
that help was there and further help was on its way, basically.
'Dan immediately sends Simon's workmate to get the analgesic gas.'
Can you do us a favour? Could you run to the back of the Volvo,
there's an orange bag in there. Could you grab that for us?
'They have to keep the arm upright to limit the blood loss.'
This is going to go tight on this arm, do your blood pressure.
'Simon is breathing very quickly from the panic and pain.
'Fire officer Colin tries to calm him.'
I know it's hard, mate. Just try and slow your breathing down a little bit.
When you go into shock, your body goes into that period
where you do breathe very fast and quick,
you could start to go into hyperventilation.
So try and get them to slow their breathing down,
cos once their breathing is slowed, they come back to more of a norm.
'They have to put a sterile dressing on.
'There is a high risk of infection.
'Dan also has to think about protecting the missing part of the finger.'
This is the finger, is it? It's still there.
Wrap it in some cloth and then put it by the ice.
Put it in some of that saline, as well, stop it drying out.
'They wrap the missing part of the finger and keep it safe
'as Dan gives Simon some pain relief.'
All right, I'll give you some gas and air. All right?
What you need to do is take it in this hand
and take some deep breaths in on it.
After about six to ten, it'll really start kicking in.
'With his hand bandaged and the wound out of sight,
'Simon already appears to be a little more comfortable.'
-I just don't want to see it again.
-It's all wrapped up.
It's all wrapped up at the moment.
'The Entonox is helping take the edge off the pain.'
What's your pain score now, if it was ten out of ten? Has it eased off a bit?
-Just throbbing away.
'An ambulance crew has arrived. Dan updates them.'
We've got the finger, which has been kept... It was in the glove.
It's been retrieved, it's been kept sterile. It's in a bandage soaked in saline now in there.
'Simon is calm enough to walk to the ambulance.
'All the time, his hand is kept in the air to stem the blood loss.
'He'll discover at hospital if the missing tip can be reattached.
'Dan's done his best, but is unsure if it's in good enough condition.'
They couldn't get the glove out until they had landed the beams back on the ground,
so there's quite a lot of crush injury to the fingertip,
but it's above his joint, so with any luck, they might be able to reconstruct something for him.
Hopefully, he'll still be able to use most of his finger.
Unfortunately, Simon's finger was too badly crushed to be reattached.
In fact, they had no choice but to amputate it further, down to the knuckle. Nick.
That's terrible, isn't it? I just feel so much for builders.
OK, a 14-year-old girl is at home alone when a small candle starts a fire.
She runs out and raises the alarm. In minutes, firefighters in breathing apparatus
are tackling the blaze. But they need help.
A second crew is dispatched and we're with them.
'Green Watch are heading out to help another crew tackling a fire in a flat.'
It's a fire in a first-floor bedroom.
At the moment, they've got two breathing apparatus wearers,
a hose reel and a covering jet in use,
so it seems to be a go-in job by all accounts.
Right here, right again.
It's five-four-whisky-lima in attendance.
'At the scene, Sean meets crew manager Daryl.
'The flames have ripped through this upper-floor flat.
'Hightown crews arrived first. Richard Cocklin and Rob Blackman went in to tackle the fire head-on.'
We opened up the door. Immediately, lots of thick, black smoke
coming out of the front door, visibility was zero.
There was a lot of heat, so we didn't want to go in straight away.
We gas-cooled from the door with our water jets,
pulsing it into the gas, and we proceeded into the building.
It was a large fire. The whole living room was involved.
It took about 15 minutes before it was properly all out
and we were happy that we could send a message back to engine control.
'The fire is out, but they need to make sure it doesn't reignite.'
I've got a team in that loft space checking that, two lads putting out the fire.
-Could you two go in the loft space of that one?
-Yeah, no worries.
'Paul O'Donovan and Rich Green head up into the roof space
'to check nothing's still alight.
'They have to rule out any chance of the fire spreading to neighbouring properties.
'A 14-year-old girl was in the flat but escaped to raise the alarm when the fire broke out.
'Racing back home, her distraught mother Rochelle has no idea whether her daughter got out safely.'
Where's my child? Where's my baby?
Your daughter? She's up there.
-I'll stay, yeah.
'Rochelle is overcome with both relief and horror at what might have been.'
All right, calm, calm.
Calm down. It's all right. It's all right. All right, all right.
Rochelle was obviously very distressed because she realised it was her property involved
and she thought her daughter was still inside.
SHE SOBS Your daughter's fine.
'A neighbour and Sean try their best to console her.
-She's all right.
-She's shaken up, but she's fine, which is the main thing.
-She's a tough cookie.
-Your daughter's fine.
-It's material stuff up there.
-Yeah, it is.
Part of our role is not only to fight the fire and prevent damage,
but also, dare I say it, the fluffy bunny side,
to show some compassion to the public is important.
People are at their most needy and they need our support.
Come on, calm down.
'The fire crews have now thoroughly cooled the burned flat
'and are starting to salvage possessions.
'Rochelle is worried about the family's pet rats and lizards.'
With animals involved, we'll always try to save an animal.
In this instance, unfortunately, one cage of rats has passed away.
But we were still able to save another cage and the lizards, and that was a comfort to Rochelle.
'In just minutes, Rochelle's life has been turned upside down.
'Although they are both safe, she and her daughter are now effectively homeless.
'It's a lot to deal with.'
What we're going to do is, we've got a victim support unit to give you advice.
You can go in there, sit down, try and gather your thoughts.
They will help you with the next stages of what you need to do.
The support unit is a unit, a bit like a motor home.
They come to the incidents and they're trained counsellors.
They'll speak to the occupants or the residents and offer them guidance
in simple things, like how to contact your insurance company.
And they arrange accommodation, if they need alternative accommodation.
-At least you're insured.
-A lot of people aren't even insured.
Do you know where your policies are?
All right. We'll see if we can find those.
'The family will get all the help they need to pick up the pieces.
'Assisted by the fire support unit, both Rochelle and her daughter will be found temporary accommodation
'until life can get back to normal.'
The emotion that woman went through and the psychological damage.
We're here to talk to Mark Ainsworth-Smith about carbon monoxide, a by-product of fires.
-In the old days, you used to just put people in the ambulance and send them to hospital.
But now you've got a mobile kit. Why is that?
We've got a new piece of equipment that very accurately measures carbon monoxide.
It's a lethal gas. It's known as the silent killer.
We have a very effective way of monitoring at scene
so we can decide exactly how urgently people need to be treated or if they need a hospital.
So they're trying to take the pressure off hospitals. If you do this test, you're OK to go home.
Yeah. A significant number of our house fires we have more than one patient involved in,
sometimes 20 or 30, and by doing this, we can screen those patients at the scene
-and sometimes they don't need to go to hospital.
-I'm going to have a go.
We're going to test it, just to show you how it works.
If I'd come out of a fire, you would say?
OK, what we have here is a clever bit of kit.
-I'm going to need you to hold your breath for about 15 seconds.
Then when it gets to 0, blow slowly and gently into it,
-and we should get a very accurate reading of your carbon monoxide level.
-You set it going
and in the countdown, I'll ask you a question.
There we go. I need you to try and hold your breath.
Some patients struggle to hold their breath for 15 seconds, so we can change that.
You can also get carbon monoxide poisoning from boilers in houses.
But you say silent killer, so what things should you look out for that are signs you might be damaged?
Other things you might notice are, a lot of patients with carbon monoxide poisoning complain of a headache.
90 percent do. Sometimes they present with fatigue, lethargy.
That should be fine.
And they sometimes complain of really severe symptoms, such as chest pain and even have fits.
There we go, here's the details. I don't know if you can see this.
What we show here is that you've blown 1.7 percent carboxyhaemoglobin.
That sounds complicated, but what that says is, if you'd just been pulled from a house fire,
we would be safely able to discharge you at scene.
-Anybody with a level greater than four percent automatically goes to hospital.
Great that you can ease the pressure on hospitals. The symptoms seem very general,
-very difficult to narrow down.
-This is a real issue for us.
Sometimes you can present with minor ailments. Flu is a very common symptom.
Sometimes, all members of the family will complain of flu symptoms.
And sometimes people get a terrible headache, they go to work and their symptoms resolve,
-then when they go back home, symptoms reoccur.
If you get headaches at home and you go to work and it eases up, then when you get home it comes on again,
you might need to get your boiler checked.
Thank you very much. Louise, you have a case in point.
Yes. They had to use this kit on Steph, a call-taker here,
but you were in your house, you lit a candle, you went downstairs. What happened?
I went downstairs to get my inhaler and ran back up the stairs
and wondered what the smell was.
-And you shut your bedroom door.
-Went back in the bedroom, shut the door
and realised a dressing gown was on fire on the back of the door.
-And you were trapped in your bedroom.
-How did you get out?
To be honest, I don't really know. I just thought, "I need to get out."
I reached for the handle and the next thing I know, my brother was pulling my arm out.
-He'd heard you. But that was unusual.
-He heard me shouting,
but normally he sleeps with his iPod headphones in,
but this day he didn't, so he heard me shouting and calling for him
and he was there at the door and pulled me out.
Which is incredibly lucky. Tell us about the damage to the house.
The whole of the upstairs was damaged.
My bedroom has been completely damaged by fire.
Mum and Dad's and Simon's and the bathroom are smoke-damaged.
-And I know that all your clothes went except for this!
It was downstairs, so everything but my uniform.
-OK. You had a really lucky escape.
And they used that kit on you, didn't they, and you were OK.
Yeah, me and my brother both blew in the tube and we were fine.
I noticed in the film, the emotion when she got home
and she thought she'd lost, first of all her daughter and then realised she was OK, the relief then,
but also the loss of possessions and things.
-Of all the things that you lost, which was pretty much everything, what do you miss the most?
-Really, the bed?
-Cos I love my bed.
Aww! To be fair, I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same way.
I struggle to get out of it every single morning. Thank you very much.
Now, very often, the properties either side of a fire are checked because where smoke goes,
fire usually follows. Louise went to the fire service's headquarters to see for herself how that happens.
What we've got here is an incredibly sophisticated piece of equipment.
It's a model of a block of flats. We've got Nigel, who will operate it.
-Malky here, as well. This is what you use to train firefighters, isn't it?
-What's going on today?
-We've got a basement.
Orange glow in the corner replicates the fire
and we've got the basement full of smoke.
Call it smoke, but it's dangerous stuff.
Very dangerous. Smoke's a bit of a fluffy name for it, really.
It's highly toxic, super-heated fire gases.
-And very, very dangerous.
-And what's really interesting, if we open the doors,
is that the fire is there but, actually,
it might be these people sleeping in their beds up here in this flat
-that are most in danger.
-So what happens?
Through doors being left open, doors being burnt through,
hidden voids within the building,
the smoke can quickly travel up through the route of least resistance
and fill up another compartment within the building.
And you can see here, cos Nigel's just opened that door. Here it comes.
-Going straight up the stairwell.
-Very quickly it'll fill the stairwell
with the fire gases, and any adjacent doors that are left open,
-their compartments will quickly fill.
-You can see, as we're doing that, it's going up the stairs here
and its gently but very dangerously just beginning to go into that bedroom.
What would you do when you arrive at a scene like that? You know where the fire is.
-What would you be doing?
-Ideally, we want to close down the fire compartment,
get rid of as much of the fire gases as we can by using tactical ventilation and search for people.
How would you do that? Because you wouldn't be able to walk though there.
By way of fans. We'll open up the building
and chase the smoke out of the building
-through the route that we feel is...
-Show me what you might do here.
The team here, with the fire in the basement, would close off the fire compartment,
we'll create an outlet, create an inlet...
-Turn on these massive fans.
-Turn on the fans.
-And, wow, look at that! Goes straight out the top.
And you can see how quickly it might clear a whole stairwell.
Yes. So as that's happening, we would now have teams coming in,
chasing the gases through to search the compartments.
And make sure everybody's OK.
And you can see very quickly in this model how, if there was a fire in one house,
it might be a house in a terrace three or four doors down that could burn down.
Yeah, the older style terrace, where they have a common roof void,
it's not unknown for a fire to start in one compartment of one house
and a house three or four doors down is the one that's...
-Because of these gases that are going through.
-What can we do to help ourselves?
Simple things. Shutting doors when you go out to work,
when you go to bed at night, shut the doors, so you're breaking your house down into compartments.
-Thank you very much. Thank you, Nigel. You can put your fire out now. Thank you.
Makes you realise, as well, if you have a loft conversion,
how the smoke can get round the sides and up and into the house next door.
So is he saying that smoke is high-temperature gases?
Absolutely. Steph, that happened to you, didn't it?
Your room was at the front and in the bathroom...
In the bathroom, hanging on the shower were some scrunchies that you wash yourself with,
they were completely melted to the shower box.
-But there was no fire in that bathroom.
-So it's just literally the heated gases.
-The heated gases
went right to the other side of the house and melted the shower?
All the cable on the blind in the bathroom had completely melted,
-all the slats on the blind...
-And toothbrushes, everything.
-All the toothbrushes had melted.
-Isn't that extraordinary?
-What was the temperature?
You really do need to have some kind of system worked out to get out of your house
and have a think about shutting your doors at night, make sure your fire alarm systems work.
-And remember that smoke is really dangerous.
-That's the one that does the damage.
Still to come on Real Rescues, Kevin and Laura are heading to hospital
but their baby won't wait to be born.
And keeping a stiff upper lip, Diane's trying not to show it,
but a fall in the kitchen has landed her not only on a hard floor, but also in a serious amount of pain.
You've got what we call a dinner fork deformity. You've definitely broken it. You have, definitely.
Paramedics often ask patients to score their pain out of ten.
It's a very useful way to find out just how bad an injury is,
especially with patients like Diane, who really doesn't like to make a fuss.
'Emergency care practitioner Mark Ainsworth-Smith is working alone
'in the rapid response vehicle when he's called to a 79-year-old woman who's fallen over.'
-My name's Mark. What are you up to?
-I fell over in the kitchen.
'Diane Seddon tripped up just as she was about to start making lunch
'and now her wrist is in agony.'
-Were you unconscious or do you think you remember everything that happened?
-I remember pretty well.
-I was starting to do dinner.
-OK. All right.
-We're just going to check with the top of your head. Where did you bang it?
-At the top.
-I'm just going to check your neck now. Have you got any pain in your neck?
'Diane's husband, Alan, raised the alarm.'
I heard her call. I was in there and I came straight out.
-And I can't get her up, she's too heavy.
You've done the right thing not moving her, cos if she'd hurt her hips, it'd be a disaster.
'As he gets on with checking Diane's blood pressure, Mark also makes sure that she has no memory loss.'
-I'm just going to ask you a couple of silly questions. Can you tell me what day it is?
-OK. What month are we in right now?
Yep. Fantastic. OK, that's great.
If you were going to score it, ten's the worst pain you can ever imagine
-and nought is no pain, how bad is it at the moment?
-Is it all in your wrist?
'From the shape of Diane's wrist, Mark is in no doubt about the injury.'
You've got what we call a dinner fork deformity. You've definitely broken it.
You have, definitely.
'Diane also suffers from epilepsy, which often causes her to shake, but nowhere near as badly as this.
'The constant movement is adding to the pain.'
-You didn't have a fit today or anything like that?
'But her blood pressure is giving cause for concern.'
It's 200 on 100, so it's pretty high.
I think that's shock, isn't it, more than anything?
-Yeah, and the sight of us, as well, that never helps.
-No, that's a relief.
Have you got any pains in your hips at all?
-In my left buttock, I've got pain.
'Hip injuries are extremely serious for the elderly
'and a fracture would be worrying for Diane.'
Are you able to lift this leg off the floor for me?
-Can you try...
-No, I can't. I can't get it up.
Can I just gently move it? I'll be very gentle.
Does that hurt in your groins at all?
-Slightly, yes. No, no, don't, please.
-OK. That's fine.
-And how about this side?
-That side seems to be OK.
-So a little bit of pain. And is it actually in the hip itself?
Is it? OK. Well, we can get that sorted out.
-'Diane will definitely need to go to hospital.'
-They're going to send us as ambulance shortly.
'He puts her arm in a sling to limit the shaking and help ease her broken wrist.'
-Is that helping the pain at all?
-At the moment, yes.
Is it? It's helping a bit. OK. So it was nine out of ten, how much is it now?
-So still pretty bad.
'And gas and air should take the soreness down even more.'
With your good arm, I want you to bring your hand up and I want you to hold onto that
and insert that into your mouth. Then breathe in and out and when you hear a whistle, it's working, OK?
Big breath. That's it. Brilliant. That's the noise we want to hear.
Have a few puffs on that and let's see.
Is that helping yet?
-A little bit. It's terribly painful.
'Mark uses a pillow to add further support.'
-Is that better?
If you were going to score your pain, it was nine out of ten, how bad is it now?
-About six out of ten.
-So it's still pretty significant.
Why don't you have a few more deep puffs on that?
'While Mark is chatting to Diane to take her mind off the pain,
'he discovers that she used to be a nurse.'
-Where were you a nurse?
-Southampton Children's Hospital.
-It's pulled down now.
-Where was that, then?
-Shirley. Winchester Road.
-Oh, yeah, I know it well. Gosh.
You seem a little bit brighter now. If you need some painkillers, just use that gas.
'The ambulance crew arrive to take Diane to hospital.'
This is Diane. She's a very nearly 80-year-old lady.
Basically, she fell, landed on her left wrist, but she's also banged the back of her head.
She wasn't unconscious, she remembers it all. She's also injured her left hip.
'The kitchen is too small to use a stretcher,
'so they bring in a special chair to carry Diane out of the house.'
-What my colleague's going to do, he's going to come behind you and hold onto this wrist.
Keep this one where it is.
And we're going to lift you up and put you in this chair.
One, two, three.
-Thank you. That was good, wasn't it?
-He's very strong, isn't he?
'If she's broken her hip, it'll be a long road to recovery for her,
'but Mark's hopeful all will be well.'
You might have escaped without breaking it, I think. That's my gut feeling.
'She'll need X-rays on both her wrist and her hip
'to assess the full extent of her injuries.'
Poor Diane. Although she did break her wrist, fortunately, she didn't fracture her hip
and she is recovering well. Nick.
Thank you. I thought we'd pop over the see Claire to talk about another thing with the emergency services.
Are you able to...? You are. Good. I was checking to see if you were on a call.
Finding people can really slow up emergency services, can't it?
Yeah. If it's a new build, for example,
it's hard to get the address in, cos our system might not be updated.
Of course. So you really want to say you're coming off another older road.
Yeah, so people need to be aware of what roads are around them.
-Numbers, as well. I noticed the other day when I was looking for a friend's house, no numbers.
It'd be helpful if they were a bit clearer and bigger.
And if they know what cars they've got and what colour and things,
it's good to tell us which cars are outside,
-just so we have an idea of what to look for.
-There you go.
Thank you very much. If you want to be rescued or for emergency services to be able to get to you,
you need to make sure that your building has a number on it so it can be identified.
Right, when Laura was expecting her third baby, husband Kevin was ready for anything.
He planned the route to hospital and packed the overnight bag.
But when they took a last-minute detour to the local pub car park,
it wasn't to wet the baby's head.
Mm! The ambulance crew left as soon as Kevin gave the address of the pub, but will they make it in time?
Or will Kevin have to deliver this baby himself?
We'll find out in a little while.
Now, here's a part of the fire service you may never have heard of.
They are called Urban Search and Rescue. On the news, when there's a disaster,
we see teams from around the world go to assist. But how do they train?
In a military fort near Portsmouth, they staged a huge earthquake scenario.
Joe Crowley was in the thick of the action.
'In this exercise, there's just been an earthquake in Hampshire.'
'A five-storey block of flats full of people has collapsed.
'Local firefighters are the first in.'
Mark, you're a serving fire officer.
This is chaos. What are the guys thinking as they approach this?
Everything that's going on at the moment is designed to distract them
from their proper task, and that is to assess the situation.
There's so many things going on, going through the officer in charge's mind,
he needs to do triage, get the walking casualties away from the incident,
sort out the people that are out of control,
get first aid to as many casualties as he can deal with,
and at the moment, he's got about ten people. This is just far beyond his control at the moment.
He's got to stay incredibly calm. I'm struggling to hear myself think and these guys have got a lot to do.
Yeah, they've got it all to do. This just blows your mind.
I mean, you've got a burning van which is blocking their route in.
That's designed just to distract them. They haven't got time to worry about burning vans.
And as more people arrive on this scene, what are they going to be doing?
-Where are they going to direct their energies?
-They need to get the walking wounded away
so they can start burrowing in amongst it and find the casualties trapped within the building.
While this is going on, there are other sites. There's so much to do.
-So this is the tip of the iceberg.
-We haven't started yet.
'Once the walking wounded have been taken away, they have to start pinpointing
'the location of anyone still trapped.
'That's where the search and rescue dogs come in.'
Mick, what are you going to do now with the dog?
Well, the wind's going in that direction,
so I'll start him off down the bottom there,
send him over the pile
-and just let him do a search.
-And what should he be picking up on? A scent?
-Live human scent.
-He's sussing it out now. He's picked up a scent.
When he gives out one bark, I know he's picked up on a scent. Go find.
He's just trying to sort out the strongest part of it.
Show me. Good boy!
-Come on, then!
-And that's the reward.
-That's his reward, yeah.
-He's found something. He likes it a lot!
-Good boy! Good boy.
DOG BARKS Good boy! Good boy!
There's one in the back of the car and one there so far.
How reliant are we at this stage on the dog finding these humans trapped beneath the rubble?
We've got an idea of some casualties
but you can imagine, there's a lot of voids
-and a lot of areas we can't get into.
-In a live situation,
maybe there's after shocks, all sorts, and you might not be able to rely on technology,
-so this is the full complement.
-He's found a third person.
-That's what the barking indicates.
Mark, we look like we're at the cutting edge of things now. What's going on?
Now the members of the Urban Search and Rescue team have arrived.
They're drilling a hole through the road surface,
because they know the road is pancaked onto the road below
and they know there's cars with people trapped underneath.
Once they've drilled a small bore hole through,
they can put optical and listening devices down through the hole to find out what's underneath.
They've turned the generator off. Why is that?
Because they've got one of their listening devices into the hole
and they're listening for any signs of movements underneath the ground.
-This is a level of silence now, so they can listen out for any movement.
When you were driving along the road... Steve?
When you were driving along and the road collapsed, did your car stay in line with the road or did it twist?
You blacked out, did you? All right.
I heard them speaking to someone, so have they made contact with someone below the road surface?
Yeah, it sounds like they've managed to locate somebody beneath the road
and they're trying to find out exactly where they are.
I've got to say, coming back to the exercise, it's phenomenal.
You wouldn't believe anyone was under here, but they've got to treat it seriously
-and they have managed to get a live casualty under there.
-Chances are, there's more than one.
They got it down there, they're listening again.
Absolutely fascinating. Joe is here and a couple of the guys from the exercise.
Clearly you've just left. Simon and Neil, I know you've been really busy.
We saw them locate people underneath that tarmac. What happened next?
They have to get them out, so it's either a clean breach or a dirty breach
to dig through the tarmac. Simon, you work for Urban Search and Rescue. That's your job.
How are you going to do it with this kit?
We've got various bits of kit.
It depends very much on what we're going through.
We have a diamond chainsaw, which cuts through concrete.
We have a standard breaker there, which will break through concrete.
What we use depends on the situation,
where that casualty is in relation to where we're breaking through.
We decide where to break through and then we choose the piece of equipment to do that job.
Clean, dirty breach, what does that mean?
What we don't want to do is break through and damage that casualty any further.
So we do a clean breach, which means bringing all the concrete out away from the casualty.
-And we choose the bit of equipment specially to do that.
-Neil, am I right in thinking you like triangles when you do this?
-We like triangles.
We tend to prefer to cut a triangle for several reasons.
One is time. Three sides are quicker to cut than four,
so we're getting through more quickly to the casualty. That's one of the main reasons.
The other one is if we're going through a wall, if we cut a triangle this way,
with the point at the top, the hole we've cut is more stable.
If we cut a square, we've got the potential of this part of the hole falling in
-and creating more problems.
-What I'm really impressed by talking to you is
you've got all this kit here, but actually,
simple stuff can really help, can't it?
Your eyes and ears. What do you do?
We use the phrase "the mark-one eyeball."
It's very easy to think you've got to use all this expensive gear,
but just by looking, you might be able to pick something out. We'll take a handheld digital camera.
If you put that inside and just push the button,
you've got a photograph to study. The flash will have lit that whole area up
and you can just take that away and look at it, rather than study the search cameras.
So simple stuff can really work well.
Another thing on watching that was this is risky stuff for you as rescuers, as well, isn't it?
It can be, yeah, but we train for it.
It's a team process and we're always looking out for each other, we're trained to look for those risks
and it's all an extension of the fire brigade, which is all about protecting ourselves
whilst we're saving a casualty. So it's all risk assessed.
I know you've had a really busy time, so I'm going to let you go and have a cup of tea. Thank you.
Earlier, we heard an emergency unfolding in the Percy Hobbs Pub car park.
Laura's in labour and husband Kevin has made a 999 call to Ambulance Control.
He's hoping he won't end up having to be the midwife.
Shall I introduce you to everybody? We've got everybody from the story.
We've got Ian and Lisa, we've got Kevin here with Holly, who we haven't met up till now.
She's obviously sister to Emily here, who is how old now?
7 weeks today.
Normally, I would start with you and the baby, cos you did all the work,
-but I have never heard anyone so frightened.
-I was terrified!
-You really did not want to be having to do it.
-No, not at all.
How did you get yourself into that situation?
Because I thought that women go through 24 hours of labour pains before it all finally happens.
I think, during the day, I was having twinges
and things were going on,
but I just put them to the back of my head cos I had two other children to look after, as well.
And then it got to the evening and it was getting quite bad by then.
My husband had gone back to work, we had quite a busy evening at the pub where we live and work
and I phoned down all the time saying, "Kev, I think we need to go to hospital"
and he kept saying, "Oh, no, it's fine, I've got a busy restaurant at the moment."
-I'll just do another four!
-That's it, yeah.
-Is that what it was?
-Yeah, exactly that.
-I bet you wish you'd left a few minutes earlier!
So it became apparent halfway there that you weren't going to make it. Listening to you, Ian, in the phone,
frightening or any amazing experience when you have to help someone through that?
Amazing for me. Absolutely. I think the biggest surprise I had
was the relief on Kevin's face.
I don't think I've ever seen anyone quite fold in the way he did.
-It was like a mini collapse.
-He was pleased to see us.
And, Lisa, you've delivered how many babies in your time?
About ten over the last 15 years.
When was the last time before this little one came along?
-Ten years ago.
-Did you mention that when you arrived?
-Were you a little bit nervous?
-It's always quite daunting for a paramedic,
because, potentially, you've got two patients, so...
All right. Amazing. Thank you very much for coming to chat to us
and lovely to meet Emily.
Even that makes me feel nervous. No calls about babies so far this morning.
And actually, for a call-taker to count as a baby being born,
they have to talk the dad or whoever it is through.
The baby has to arrive before the paramedics arrive for it to count as a baby being born on their call.
Did you look at her? Isn't she cute? She's cute! I don't want another one, though.
-Maybe I do. I don't know.
-See you soon for more Real Rescues.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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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.
Nick and Louise look at the horrors of coming home to find your house on fire. And will the ambulance arrive in time to help a couple deliver their baby in a pub car park?