More than 2,000 people to take part in disaster exercise

More than 2,000 people to take part in disaster exercise

Storm surges, severe flooding, mudslides and collapsing buildings will be among the challenges emergency services will face

One of the world’s largest disaster scenarios is to take place in Hampshire involving more than 2,000 participants.

Storm surges, severe flooding, mudslides and collapsing buildings will be among the challenges Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will face.

The realistic training exercise will feature crumpled cars, damaged buildings and numerous casualties with varying degrees of injuries at several different locations.

The event, organised by HFRS, University of Portsmouth and the University of Liverpool will involve 40 other organisations and run from May 14 to May 16.

HFRS Urban Search and Rescue Volunteer and organiser Phil Crook said: 

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is among the best services in the country and our crews are regularly called upon to help in the aftermath of international disasters.

“Exercises like this are vital in developing and maintaining skills and getting valuable experience working alongside partners.

“These scenarios create a sense of realism you just can’t get on the drill yard or classroom and enable us to save more lives when disasters strike.”

This scenario is part of the annual SIMEX Series that has been running since 2012 and tests organisations’ national and international response.

It is also designed to provide a learning environment for participants to test disaster event plans, policies and procedures. 

Professor Sherria Hoskins, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Portsmouth, said: 

"The SIMEX Series encompasses enthusiasm and skill from primary schools to universities to Government organisations. 

"We are very proud to be a core part of this exercise which will develop the training of humanitarian and emergency response personnel that could lead to significant improvements in the efficiency of coordination and emergency response for those in desperate need.” 

This exercise will take place at eight different locations across the county including Eastleigh Fire Station, Fort Widley, Fort Purbrook, St Andrew’s Court, Wymering, Andrew Simpson Sailing and forts near north Portsea.

The fictitious island of Mas will be visited by the Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt who is also Portsmouth North MP and Women and Equalities Minister.

Emergency services at SIMex 2018
Emergency services at SIMex 2018