June 20th 2016

Leicester emergency services join the Army on training exercise

An Emergency Resilience Training Exercise led by 7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East has taken place at Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore.

Army personnel joined local authorities, emergency services and voluntary organisations to practise and test multi-agency systems and procedures at a major incident.

The scenario centred around a military aircraft crashing onto a main arterial road in the East Midlands and although it was an exercise, it was treated as authentic by all the participants.

Tasks involved establishing and manning a rest centre, evacuating injured personnel from the scene, decontamination and pollution protection.

The exercise scenario saw 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps fuel tankers caught up in the incident, giving the unit the opportunity to practise its Major Spillage Plan.

Simon Cole, Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said: “All the public agencies are required to rehearse for incidents that we hope will never happen.

“As the Chief Constable, it is really important that my first response can deal with incidents of this size and scale and that my specialist teams, who have difficult tasks such as body recovery, get the chance to exercise.”

The Chief Constable, who is also the Chairman of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Resilience Forum, continued: “We must practice working together with the blue light services, the military, local Councils, health services and volunteer organisations, who would all work together to rescue and protect people in a real life major incident.

“Sadly, we have had to use some of the training we have been practising for real and local people should be reassured that we run exercises such as this.”

Over 350 people took part in the exercise including 66 fireman using nine fire appliances and five special support appliances. The exercise saw the fire crews break down the incident into sectors. Equipment and resources were deployed to each sector and were re-prioritised as the incident progressed.

Chief Fire Officer Steve Lunn said this sort of exercise gave Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service a great opportunity to practise not only their command skills, but also their multi-agency arrangements so that they are always ready to respond to a major incident.

Also taking part in the exercise were 44 medical personnel from East Midlands Ambulance Service.  Resilience Officer Hannah Squires said: “It is really important for us to implement and practise the Joint Emergency Services Inter-operability programme. There are five principles in the programme including co-location, co-ordination and communication.

“Parts of the exercise are challenging – like any exercise, and that’s when we have to be dynamic. This for us is a safe training environment. It is better to sort things out here and identify lessons that we can learn from and build into our plans for the future.”

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew McCombe, the Joint Regional Liaison Officer for the East Midlands who organised the event said the exercise had gone well.

The Army facilitated the joint exercise between the Leicestershire blue light responders and RAF Wittering to enable them to practise their aircraft post-crash management procedures in a safe and realistic environment.

People who want further information and advice on how they can prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency can visit . The website includes handy tips and advice for individuals, families, communities and local businesses.

“All the public agencies are required to rehearse for incidents that we hope will never happen."