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IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
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Prepare for complete lack of funnehs.
A few years ago I was working in London for the ambulance service. One week a year, I had to go for a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course. Now, I was able to choose which course I did, so I went for a MIMMS course (Major Incident Medical Management Systems). Trust me, this is NOT building up to a massive pun.

Anyway, day 3 of the course arrives, and we're sitting in our lecture when the lecturer's pager goes off. "Excuse me a moment" he says. A few minutes later he comes back in with an ashen grey expression on his face. "Right chaps" he says. "We're going to skip the rest of the practical and go straight onto theory. Apparently there's been a power surge on the Underground at Edgware Road and a train has come derailed, so grab your stuff and prepare to deploy."

We all toddle downstairs. I pop my head into the training office and ask if I can borrow the keys to one of the training vehicles, just in case we need some transport. Me and a mate (who we shall refer to as Sideshow Bob, due to his masses of hair) grabbed a new vehicle and booked on with control.

"Yeah, if you can start making your way to Edgware Ro....wait...what the fuck? OK, I need you to go to Tavistock Square WC1 NOW. We're getting reports of an explosion on a bus. Please be advised that we are now declaring a service wide major incident."

I cannot describe to you the terror of the next hour driving into central London. Listening to radio DJs who you listen to every day with their voices shaking trying to tell you what is going on. Watching people pour from buses and tubes, and you being afraid that the next one you go past will be the next one to go kaboom.

So where is my narrow escape?

Well, I was supposed to be working with my regular crewmate on an ambulance in Central London. As I was on a training course, I was at a training centre on the outskirts. By the time me and Sideshow Bob got to Tavistock Square, it was mostly all over. My role that day was making tea and distributing sandwiches, all the while trying NOT to look at the remains of the Number 30 from Hackney a few metres away. It remains to this day one of the most horrific things I have seen. Suffice to say the news pictures were heavily sanitised.

My crewmate was working with a spare member of staff and was first ambulance on scene. He coped admirably and I was incredibly proud of what he acheived. It's not every day that a 6ft 18 stone rugby player cries on your shoulder once it was all over, but that was one of the days.

No amount of mindbleach...

To everyone who was involved in the rescues on 7th July 2005, you have my unending respect.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:16, 3 replies)
My mate was attached to the Argyle and Sutherland regiment, who had the job of "mopping up" Lockerbie. I can tell you every day he probably wishes he had the chance to distribute tea and biscuits instead of bagging human jam.

Clcks, because we should.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 9:30, closed)
My old research lab is about 100 yards from Tavistock Square.
that morning I was distracted from my tea by a sound that can only be described as dropping half a ton of corrugated iron into a skip. I still wake up in the night hearing that. I made some joke about a bomb and carried on tea drinking. I'm probably going to hell.

But massive respect to the emergency services and everyone who had to deal with that (and similar). Words can't express how hard that must be.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:27, closed)
A good friend of mine was the police photographer at Tavistock Square
He had to meticulously photograph every detail. Not surprisingly he quit not too long after.
(, Fri 20 Aug 2010, 12:40, closed)

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