IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES. Fake victims, fake blood… at the heart of the attack simulation exercise at the Besançon TGV station

IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES. Fake victims, fake blood… at the heart of the attack simulation exercise at the Besançon TGV station
IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES. Fake victims, fake blood… at the heart of the attack simulation exercise at the Besançon TGV station

Tuesday May 21, 2024, in the evening, a large-scale civil security exercise took place at the Besançon Franche-Comté des Auxons station (Doubs). More than 400 people took part in a simulated terrorist attack.

The Besançon Fanche-Comté TGV station was the scene, on Tuesday May 21, of a full-scale civil security exercise. From 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., a simulated terrorist attack took place on a train connecting Viotte station to Auxons TGV station. As part of this ORSEC (Civil Security Response Organization) type exercise, organized by the Doubs prefecture and the SNCF Rail Security, 417 people played the game for three hours. This was an exercise as part of the NOVI system (numerous casualties).

A large-scale exercise

“I lost my four fingers and I’m crying. I let the emergency services do it, but I refuse to leave without my fingers”, “I take a bullet in the right thigh. I walk with a limp, but psychologically, that’s it. “, “I have a swollen face and a sore on my lip. I’m going to collapse in tears when the help arrives because I have a depressive syndrome. The extras and victims of the attack all received a sheet before the exercise telling them their role to play, their behavior and the injuries inflicted. Around a hundred students from IFSI (Hospital Care Training Institute) were present to play the role of train passengers. To make the exercise as real as possible, the extras were made up and equipped with silicone breastplates representing the most serious injuries.

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The extras were made up to represent their fake injuries.

© Laurent Brocard

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The watchword of the exercise: be as realistic as possible.

© Laurent Brocard

The scenario was simple: five attackers targeted the passengers of a train, seriously injuring around 30 people out of around a hundred people, and other psychological victims. On site, the GIGN, the national police, the gendarmerie, the firefighters, the SAMU and even railway security had to ensure the neutralization of the terrorists and the care of the victims. In all, 240 members of the state services participated in the exercise.

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More than 200 members of the emergency services and law enforcement took part in the exercise.

© Laurent Brocard

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All state services were present to reflect the reality of an event such as an attack.

© Laurent Brocard

A team from the medico-psychological emergency unit of Besançon University Hospital was also present as part of the exercise to deal with false victims. “It is our role to intervene in this type of event such as a terrorist attack, a large-scale accident, a fire. We are here totake care of psychological victims“, explains Karine Laigre, lead psychologist for the emergency unit, speaking to our journalist, Emmanuel Rivallain.

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Before the exercise, the organizers presented the proceedings of the evening to the participants.

© Laurent Brocard

A presence on site is also necessary to accompany the extras in an unusual life-size exercise. Before the simulation began, everyone was brought together for a presentation of how the evening would unfold. “It’s going to be heavy!“And for good reason, all means were implemented to make the exercise realistic: strobe light effects supposed to represent the gunshots, a soundtrack broadcasting screams and crying,…”It can have a psychological impact and be upsetting to play a role, to hear noises, to see images of injuries. The exercise will perhaps remind the extras of traumatic events and we will be there to take care of them“, notes Karine Laigre.

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The exercise took place at the Besançon Franche-Comté TGV station.

© Laurent Brocard

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Around a hundred extras played the simulation exercise.

© Laurent Brocard

Promote coordination between state services

Every year, civil security exercises take place in the department. The last one dates from 2022: a train accident in the Mont-d’Or tunnel. The objective of these simulations is to prepare for the most dramatic scenarios that could occur in the territory and to evaluate the operational intervention of state services. “All the services present carry out exercises independently. The interest of this simulation today is to make all the services work together in a synergy and coordination which allows State action to be put on the right track.“, explains Jérôme Bordy, head of the interministerial Defense and Civil Protection service at the Doubs prefecture.

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The exercise featured a terrorist attack on a train.

© Laurent Brocard

At the end of the exercise, extras and members of state services participated in a debriefing on the situation. The public prosecutor of Besançon, Etienne Manteaux, was also present to handle the judicial part of the exercise. He congratulated this exercise. “I have the feeling that there was a lot of preparation beforehand and that we were close to reality to allow us to develop reflexes and skills that may be lacking until we have experienced this type of drama.

To bring the exercise as close as possible to reality, the anti-terrorism prosecution was contacted, as provided for by the procedure in the event of a terrorist attack. Of course, they were informed that it was just an exercise.

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