Fire crews handle harmful chemicals in training exercise at Millais School

West Sussex Fire and Rescue exercise at Millais School in Horsham on Wednesday February 4.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue exercise at Millais School in Horsham on Wednesday February 4.

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Potentially harmful chemicals were discovered in the grounds of a Horsham school last week - as part of a fictional scenario for firefighters.

Crews from Horsham and Storrington, some clad in chemical protection suits, descended on Millais School on Wednesday February 4 for a training exercise.

In the scenario, barrels containing chemicals were found at the Depot Road school, posing a danger to pupils and members of the public.

Horsham Fire Station manager Richard Davy observed the 18 firefighters taking part in the training.

He said: “It is one of our regular exercises that we do each year.

“The scenario was that some chemicals had been triggered in the school tennis courts or car park, and that it could affect kids coming to school and the general public, and they would have to be dealt with.”

The crews were tasked with identifying the chemicals and reporting it to fire control to establish if they were threatening.

When it was reported to the team that a barrel was possibly harmful, firefighters decided to seal it to make the scene safe.

Mr Davy said that although fire crews are only called to jobs involving chemicals rarely, they need to be prepared due to the potential severity of the situation.

He added: “We don’t do chemical jobs that often now because quite often we ask companies to fall back on their own policies.

“So unless it affects members of the public, we would ask them to deal with it.”