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Published: December 15, 2016

Whether recreating an underground disaster, a mountaineering accident or a terrorist attack in a shopping mall, the new Pilgrims Academy in Redhill, Surrey, has been a real success among public and private sector organisations.

Professionals in the emergency services, civil and diplomatic services, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international commerce are increasingly using the urbanised training facility to develop their leadership and emergency response skills (see case studies elsewhere in this newsletter).

Among its numerous offerings, the 32,500 sq ft urbanised training area is based on a small town with numerous streets and buildings, a ‘major incident’ street and a ‘collapsed building’ set. These are all used to train clients’ staff at all levels in a series of challenging scenarios, in courses which can be tailored to the goals of their organisations.

Businesses and public bodies are invited to experience these facilities first hand at a new series of open days over the next six months, while further ‘Blue Light Days’ (see separate story), are taking place to offer specific training for professionals in the Fire, Police and Ambulance services.

“Businesses and organisations in every sector can benefit from this training,” says Pilgrims Group’s Chief Operating Officer, David Freear. “Previous clients come from government, charities, the media, petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as emergency services. Pilgrims Academy is state-of-the-art and realistic, right down to fantastic sound systems, so trainees will experience not only disaster scenarios but everyday situations in settings they might well encounter in the wider world. They will develop their emergency response and leadership skills in life-like environments before consolidating them in the classroom.”

The academy also has facilities to train medical teams, with both a Medical Skills Room and a Climatic Medical Skills Room, allowing medical personnel to practice emergency scenarios in the adverse weather they might experience in real life. It also boasts 10 large modern classrooms, 50 classroom seating capacity, 120 dining room capacity and 100 vehicle parking capacity.

The indoor urbanised major incident facility replicates an immigration office, airport arrivals, a ministry and bank, a police station, a clinic and a school, a covered market and store, café and shops, a piazza with a two-storey hotel, a factory unit, offices and houses, a taxi rank, an in-country office headquarters, incident control rooms and interrogation cells – to mention a few. It also features an equipment display centre and dojo/self-defence rooms.

To come to an open day or arrange a tour of the facilities, contact: