Testing local resilience in a major incident exercise taking place today (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Testing local resilience in a major incident exercise taking place today
9:19am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
Over 240 people will come together today to test local resilience in the face of a disaster in a two day table-top exercise that has been over a year in the planning.
Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Council, South West Ambulance Service, NHS England Area Team, Public Health England, DSTL and Environment Agency are just some of the local partners involved in the exercise – code named Red Kite - which will test how they work together in the face of a major incident in Wiltshire.
The exercise will bring together experts in all emergencies. They will be given a scenario of a huge incident, where multi-agencies would be involved and they will be expected to manage this disaster as if it was really happening in the county.
It is a command post exercise which is a fully simulated interactive activity, which tests the capability of an organisation to respond to a developing simulated event.
The exercise is designed to require a coordinated response to an incident in a time pressured situation. It will test the capability and adaptability of organisations at strategic and middle manager levels. Day One is focused on the initial response and Day Two will focus on recovery.
Emergency planners, who form part of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF), have been working together for over a year pulling the exercise together and it will involve some of the most senior decision makers in Wiltshire.
A major incident is where one agency or more would be severely impacted (ie: hospitals or Ambulance Service) or where there is mass fatalities, casualties or disruption to normal services.
As part of ensuring that the emergency services response is coordinated with all other agencies involved, today’s exercise will put them to the test with a ‘fake’ scenario playing out in ‘live’ time.
Players in the exercise will be given real time ‘injects’ as the day goes on and will have to make crucial decisions in the management of the incident, and will even have a group of scientific experts on hand to advise them on the potential dangers to the public as the day develops.
Paul Williams, Local Resilience Forum Manager for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “This exercise has been over a year in the planning and is extremely complex.
“It is a tabletop exercise and there is no real ‘play’ this year, so the public won’t be seeing a mock incident anywhere.
“Exercise Red Kite will bring together some of the most senior decision makers around the table and working together – as they would if a major incident occurred in Wiltshire.
“Although it is highly unlikely that a major incident of this kind would actually happen in Wiltshire, it is really important that we are able to test our plans as part of mitigating the risks that we do have.
“This incident scenario has been kept secret from all the players who will find out what it is as the day develops but I can tell you that it involves a plane crash over a significant site and a residential area in Wiltshire.
“This will enable us to put our emergency plans into action and for agencies to respond in a coordinated way.
“We will subsequently debrief the two days and review how we all responded. Any learning will be incorporated into our plans to ensure that they are up to date and fit for purpose.”
Mike Veale, Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police and Chair of the Local Resilience Forum will be taking part in the exercise.
He said: “It is really important that local agencies get together to test and exercise their plans. We live in an uncertain world and major incidents do happen.
“Thankfully, they are relatively rare in Wiltshire and Swindon, but we cannot be complacent and have to be ready to respond if such a situation occurs. Exercise Red Kite is a really good opportunity to test our readiness.”
Operation Red Kite will run over two days on October 9 and 10 and involves the following agencies: Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Council, South West Ambulance Service, NHS England Area Team, Public Health England, DSTL, Environment Agency, Network Rail, Met Office, the Military, Department for Communities and Local Government, voluntary sector and several utilities.
The Local Resilience Forum is the principal form of multi-agency cooperation for resilience in a local area. Further information about the Wiltshire & Swindon Local Resilience Forum (LRF) can be found at www.wiltshireandswindonprepared.org.uk
Comments are closed on this article.