How can Local Resilience Forums deliver better exercises?
Exercise Inundation was a large-scale multi-agency UK emergency exercise, simulating a flood and storm crisis event.
We worked with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and key partners including Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary, and the Environment Agency.
There were more than 300 participants in the overall crisis exercise, including local agencies and neighbouring LRFs, for which we delivered live media and social media coverage throughout the day, in real time.
We gathered footage of operational exercises, including flood defence deployment and evacuation procedures, and tested participants’ knowledge of weather, tides, and predicted flooding impact and observed how the team responded to how the crisis played out online.
Prior to the exercise we helped communications teams, senior council leaders, and directors prepare, with rigorous crisis media training.
Julie Jones, Head of Communications at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, said:
Testing and exercising emergency plans is a really important part of our preparedness for major and critical incidents, but the challenge is always how to replicate the media and social media aspects to make it as realistic as possible. Social Simulator gave us the opportunity to do this and provided a platform that was as close to real life as it could be, which meant communications colleagues could play an effective role. Having this option was a crucial part to the success of the exercise.
Participants’ roles included:
- Reassuring and advising key stakeholders
- Providing regular and clear updates, information, and situational awareness
- Countering misinformation and providing clarification
- Gathering intelligence
- Considering how data may be manipulated and lead to confusion and speculation, and the role eyewitness footage can play in a crisis
- Dealing with a variety of media sources
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