07 October 2011
An intensive, 2 day training course has been running in Jersey this week, to ensure the Island’s key organisations are ready to respond to a major disaster.
Senior Officers from the Emergency Services, States Departments and other important agencies have been finding out how our emergency services and States departments would cope with the aftermath of a major incident.
The high level training exercise, held in St Helier yesterday and today (Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October), presented the delegates with a large scale incident involving a fictional roll-on, roll-off ferry and a large number of casualties.
The training was organised by the States of Jersey Emergency Planning Officer, Michael Long, on behalf of the Emergency Planning Board, which has responsibility for ensuring Jersey is as prepared as possible to respond to a major disaster.
Michael Long explained “While Jersey is a fundamentally safe place, it is just as vulnerable to a major incident or natural disaster as anywhere else and it is critical that we provide the right training for those responsible for responding to such an event.
“This training presented us with an excellent opportunity to confront the challenges and to be clear about what we need to do. I hope Islanders will be reassured to see that we take our responsibilities seriously and work hard to make sure we are as prepared as possible to deal with any emergency that may come our way.”
The exercise required groups of senior officers and key staff to immerse themselves in an evolving scenario, which played out over a testing 20 hour period, requiring officers to remain in one place overnight. The delegates were faced with a complex mix of decision-making, simulated major rescue operations, the management of casualties and fatalities, dealing with international media attention, management of a significant number of injured people, and major disruption to Jersey Harbour, as well as the subsequent challenge of maintaining both Jersey’s essential supplies and its international reputation.
Michael Long added “While it is fortunate that major incidents are rare in Jersey, it also means the opportunities to practice our response, learn valuable lessons and put the right procedures in place are not easily available.
“Putting people under this kind of pressure is challenging, but I am confident that everyone who took part in the training will have gained valuable experience and knowledge.”
The training, held at The Radisson Hotel in St Helier, was delivered by key experts in the field of emergency planning, including representatives from the UK Emergency Services, the legal sector and the Military. The delegates were also addressed by a victim of a major disaster, who told of her own experiences and the lessons that had been learned.