Disaster exercise is nominated for top award

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A MAJOR disaster simulation exercise run between the University of Portsmouth and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) has been nominated for a partnership award.

SimEx, one of the world’s largest annually-organised training disaster exercises (pictured left), has been staged in Portsmouth for the past six years.

The event in May, which involved more than 2,000 people and 50 organisations, is shortlisted for the HFRS partnership award.

Phil Crook, section leader of urban search and rescue at HFRS, said: ‘Taking part in the exercise definitely improves the capability and expertise in HFRS to respond to such an event in real life.

‘The UK International Search and Rescue and UN involvement in the exercise demonstrates that this is locally, nationally and internationally important.’

The exercise was spread over four days, with plans for the event starting 12 months before it was held. Mr Crook added: ‘HFRS takes part to test its own International Search and Rescue, command and control and logistical capabilities.

‘As a service which provides a team to the UKISAR capability, which is accredited to United Nations and European Union Civil Protection standards, it is essential we test and utilise these capabilities in as many exercises as possible.’

A HFRS ‘celebrating success’ event will be held on Thursday, November 23 in Netley.