FIREFIGHTERS have gone into action in one of Oldham's most prominent.

But there was no need to panic. It was a carefully co-ordinated exercise with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and First Choice Homes Oldham.

The "drama" unfolded on Saturday at the FCHO-owned tower block Summervale House.

Summervale House is largely empty because of planned future development.

It was staged to test its emergency evacuation procedures in response to a major incident in a high-rise building.

The planned exercise – which was controlled by the fire service – involved simulating a real fire in an empty flat by using synthetic smoke, evacuation techniques and following updated safety procedures.

GMFRS has previously practised the techniques at its Bury-based training centre but, bosses say, through a strong working relationship between the two organisations, FCHO was able to provide the ideal location.

Tony Morgan, station manager at Oldham Community Fire Station, said: “Through thorough organisation and communication, both GMFRS and FCHO were able to carefully manage the exercise from start to finish, ensuring a smooth operation.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for their invaluable support, which allowed us to gather learnings on what we do well and understand where improvements can be applied to our practises moving forwards.”

Alex Swift, project manager building compliance at First Choice Homes Oldham, said: “It’s fantastic we were able to assist one of our key partners in this way. This particular tower block has a number of empty flats ahead of planned development work, so it was an obvious solution.

“We all know the importance of multi-agency working, but the success of this event really proved how valuable these strong partnerships can be.”