Team takes part in EXERCISE CURA – provision of emergency humanitarian assistance and welfare on the highway

Today our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and our Training Officer Elaine Gilliland, took a full part in ‘Exercise CURA,’ a regional multi agency exercise, hosted by Lancashire Constabulary and presented by the Highways Agency, which took the form of a facilitated workshop aimed at testing draft plans / protocols that have been drawn up within each of the five Local Resilience Forums (LRF’s) in the region to replace the Emergency Customer Welfare plans that existed up until June 2011.

The aims and objectives of the day tested the revised procedure and ensured that there is sufficient synergy across the region to cater for any cross-border incident of this nature.

Emphasis on the exercise was on the escalation methods to adopt and the practicalities of multi agency co-operation in dealing with the consequences of a major incident, rather than scene management, that in turn poses a threat to life or unacceptable discomfort to road users caught up in the ensuing congestion.

The exercise was held within the Ellis Conference Centre at Lancashire Constabulary Force Headquarters complex, Hutton, and commenced at 10.00hrs.

As well as our Team Leader and Training Officer, there was also other MRT representatives present and taking part; Team Leader Phil O’Brien from Bowland Pennine MRT, Mike Graham from Penrith MRT representing Lake District / Cumbria MRTs, Deputy Team Leader Pete Goble and Ken Crossley from Rossendale and Pendle MRT.

Over eighty delegates were present, representing Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire Constabulary, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cheshire Constabulary, Greater Manchester Police, Cumbria Police, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service, British Army (Regards Armed Forces assets) Highways Agency, and Local Authorities.

Three delegates represented the British Red Cross (Including David Ellis and Kevin Place) Nigel Tansley from the Salvation Army, and Derek Hampson from the RSPCA.

The overall exercise took the form of facilitated workshops with two main scenarios to work through (Summer congestion- very warm weather and wintry conditions, both secarios leading to standing traffic conditions) both with ‘exercise injects’ to allow the scenarios and agency responses to develop.

For the initial part of the exercise, all taking part were in their ‘agency’ groups, ie Fire, Police, Highways Agency, Local Authorities, Voluntary Agencies, etc.

Then for the main part of the overall exercise all present were split into five LRF groups, representing, Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, with some agencies such as NWAS, who have a ‘regional’ footprint roaming between all five of the LRF groups.

Garry and Elaine were within the Greater Manchester LRF group, presenting them with many liaison opportunities.

Both Garry and Elaine report that the exercise was very worthwhile, with yet again the resources and overall flexibilities and capabilities of regional mountain rescue showcased.

Garry and Elaine would like to pass on thanks for the undoubted success of the day to the organiser; Phil Stockford, Emergency Planning Officer, Highways Agency, Network Delivery and Development, North West, and to the exercise facilitator, Peter Ashfield of Ashfield Business Enterprise and Development Limited.