UK’s largest disaster simulation exercise nominated for award

SIMEX-3The University of Portsmouth and Hampshire Fire and Rescue (HFRS) run major international disaster simulation exercise SimEx has been nominated for a partnership award by (HFRS).

SimEx is one of the largest annually organised disaster training exercises globally and is designed for a wide range of parties including governments, military, emergency services, humanitarian organisations and individuals.

Such exercises give organisations an opportunity to better understand the different terminologies, planning cycles and processes each employs, and to help them work on the same aim of saving lives.

The exercise has been staged in Portsmouth for the past six years and attracts participants keen to sharpen their skills for disaster and rescue including the United Nations, the Coastguard, the RNLI, Red Cross and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

SIMEX-2The 2017 event, in May, involved more than 2,000 people from 50 organisations, including a UK government delegation and visitors from the Chinese government.

It is organised by paramedic, teaching fellow at the University’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and veteran of disasters across the world, Naomi Morris.

Co-organiser is HFRS’s Phil Crook, section leader of urban search and rescue, and a member of the specialist technical rescue team and the UK International Search and Rescue Team.

He said: “Taking part in the exercise definitely improves the capability and expertise in HFRS to respond to such an event in real life. The UK International Search and Rescue and UN involvement in the exercise demonstrate that this is locally, nationally and internationally important.”

SIMEX-4Spread over four days the exercise was a huge challenge in logistics, management, stakeholder involvement, administration, and leadership. The sheer numbers involved meant that planning began 12 months before the event, and needed huge amounts of time, effort and significant skill from the two main organisers.

“HFRS takes part to test its own International Search and Rescue, command and control and logistical capabilities. As a service which provides a team to the UKISAR capability, which is accredited to United Nations and European Union Civil Protection standards, it is essential that we test and utilise these capabilities in as many exercises as possible.”

Nominees for the HFRS partnership awards are:

  • SIMEX 2017
  • Rushmoor and the local community care team
  • Southampton Partnership working

The HFRS celebrating success event will be held on Thursday, November 23 at Netley.

The awards evening is designed to recognise individuals and teams from inside and outside HFRS on their achievement and contribution to the Service’s mission.

  • All photos were taken at 2017 Simex, UK’s largest international disaster response exercise

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