Team members take part in Exercise CURA III, Emergency Welfare on the Highways of Greater Manchester

On Monday 19th March 2012, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and our Training Officer at the time 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 had 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 was 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.

Fast forward to the present, and Exercise CURA III is the latest exercise in the development of welfare plans regarding highway incidents by the Highways Agency.

Attended today by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, Life Vice President Alan James, long serving team member Mark Scott and David Crawford, Exercise CURA III was held at the GMP Hough End Police Sports and Social Club, Mauldreth Road West, Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester, and commenced with registration at 09.00hrs this morning.

Facilitated by the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum, Exercise CURA III took the form of a multi-agency exercise to raise awareness of, and test the arrangements within,  the Highways Emergency Welfare Plan.

The Objectives of todays exercise were;

  • Understand the roles, responsibilities and limitations of all Agencies who have a role to respond to an incident involving motorists requiring humanitarian assistance, including evacuation
  • Exercise the escalating phases within Operation Cura leading to the activation of a Joint Tactical Co-ordination Centre (JTCC)
  • Understand the information required by JTCC and options available to provide emergency humanitarian assistance on a motorway
  • Understand the appropriate level of emergency provision for a range of scenarios
  • Exercise the availability of the humanitarian assistance & welfare provisions and the distribution capabilities
  • Understand the Highways Agency various Incident Management Techniques.
  • Promote the Highways Agency CLEAR initiative (Collision, Lead, Evaluation, Action, Reopen)
  • Raise awareness of the options available to communicate with stranded motorists
  • Understand the conditions which would result in an evacuation of motorists from the vehicles
  • Exercise the logistics of evacuating motorists from the motorway.

The whole exercise which lasted from 09.30hrs through till 13.00hrs, was run by the Highways Agency, and following presentations by Phil Stockford, HA Regional Emergency Planning Officer, Kim Charkewyz, HA Operations Manager and Janet McAvenne, HA Customer Operations, there followed a series of Incident Scenarios and exercise injects to test the latest version of Operation CURA as applicable to the Greater Manchester area.

Over eighty persons were present, from many diverse organisations, including The Highways Agency, GMP, GMFRS, NWAS (Greater Manchester), NWMPG (North West Motorway Police Group), North West 4×4 Response, Army (under the remit of MACC : Military Aid to the Civil Community) Bolton MRT, RSPCA, British Red Cross, and Local Authority Civil Contingency Unit Officers from all the L.A.’s in Greater Manchester, the AGMA CCU and other agencies.

Overall the exercise was a success, fulfilling its many objectives.

The exercise was also an excellent opportunity to renew ‘old’ acquaintances and forge new liaisons, as all present were organised in to work group tables, with representatives of each organisation attending spread out where possible, around each work group table.

At the exercise conclusion, all present then attended an excellent buffet lunch, which again provided another opportunity to make new friends, and forge awareness of the resources and capabilities of all the various organisations present.

……and thankfully after lunch, for everybody’s homeward journey (or back to work for some) the Greater Manchester motorway and trunk road network was (generally) flowing quite well!!