21 November 2017
More than 100 people are due to take part in an emergency planning exercise this week, to prepare for the extremely unlikely eventuality (estimated at one per 100 years) of a flooding incident in the Grands Vaux area.
Representatives from Jersey’s emergency services, States departments, parishes, utility companies and voluntary agencies will take part in this exercise, which is part of the Government’s ongoing emergency preparedness training. Representatives from the Guernsey Emergency Planning Office will also attend, as well as senior managers from their Environment and Infrastructure Departments, and Guernsey Water.
Jersey’s Emergency Planning Officer, Mark James, said “Although this type of event is extremely rare and has been assessed at less than a 1 in 100 year event, we must have emergency plans in place to ensure that we can keep the public safe and minimise the disruption to the community. This kind of multi-agency exercise helps different agencies to work together, and identifies opportunities for improvements in our emergency plans.”
The event has been organised by the States of Jersey Emergency Planning Office and will involve a tabletop exercise called Exercise Fluvius, to test the multi-agency emergency response and recovery arrangements for a major flooding incident in the Grands Vaux area and to identify opportunities to improve the response, should a real event occur.
Mark James added “Tabletop exercises condense a major incident that would usually last days or weeks into a few hours, so they are a cost-effective way to validate our plans and capabilities. Tabletop exercises are discussion-based sessions centred on a developing emergency scenario. It gives representatives from the organisations that would be involved in an emergency an opportunity to interact with colleagues from other agencies and to discuss their roles and their responses to a particular evolving emergency situation.”
Mr James, also Jersey’s Chief Fire officer, explained why Grands Vaux is the subject of the exercise “Grands Vaux represents about 10% of the Island's land mass. The reservoir basin is small and can fill very rapidly during heavy rainfall. Therefore, the flood volume in severe weather can be greater than the capacity of the basin, which could result in flash-flooding in the Grands Vaux area, which has a large number of residential properties. "
Exercise Fluvius will be held all day at the Radisson Blu, St Helier, on 23 November 2017.