More from news and media

West Herts is well prepared for emergency

Posted: 17 June 2019

Picture of hospital staff and fire service crews standing in front of a fire engine which is in front of a hospital buidling at Watford General hospital

Recent visitors to Watford General Hospital might have caught a glimpse of smoke-filled rooms or witnessed the emergency evacuation of a patient through a window…but there was no need to panic!

15 members of staff from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, alongside 15 firefighters from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, were conducting a planned exercise to prepare staff for an emergency situation.

This live exercise included the evacuation of the West Herts Cardiac Centre, which was filled with simulated smoke to make the experience as real as possible for participants. Clinical and non-clinical staff who work in the building initiated emergency procedures, as they would in a real life situation, and evacuated volunteering staff and some of our volunteers who were acting as patients.

The exercise is part of an ongoing series of live and table-top training exercises organised by the trust’s emergency planning, preparedness and resilience team. The team runs these throughout the year to prepare staff for every emergency eventuality including mass casualty incidents, fire evacuations, pandemic flu outbreaks, chemical and biological incidents and many other scenarios.

Staff readily participate in these sessions because they know how important it is to be prepared for any kind of critical or major incident. The emergency planning, preparedness and resilience team was commended by NHS England for far exceeding the minimum national exercising requirements which we are expected to meet.

Head of emergency planning James Mason said: "We’re really grateful to our staff who have volunteered their time to take part in these exercises for everyone’s benefit. The public, including patients, visitors and carers, are protected by our readiness for any critical situation including fire, chemical incident or pandemic disease outbreaks."

Jamie Farrelly, crew commander of White Watch at Watford Fire Station, who participated in the exercise said: "I would like to thank James Mason and his colleagues at West Herts Trust for allowing us the opportunity to use the cardiac building at Watford General Hospital. It was of great benefit, not only to carry out realistic training at an offsite location, but also involving trust staff members who acted as live casualties. This will help us to provide an efficient emergency response should a real incident occur."


Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (