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Multi-agency exercise held to simulate major incident

A group of people stood in an open grass area receiving a briefing.

Police officers, special constables and staff were joined by emergency service, voluntary rescue organisations, and other agencies on Saturday (23 March) for an exercise simulating a major incident.

The exercise, which took place at Wimbleball Lake in Exmoor National Park, simulated the response to a mid-air collision between two aircraft.

It was organised to allow Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum and other organisations to test their emergency procedures and plans.

Two side-by-side images, on the left showing a man lying on the floor with a parachute tangled in a tree with an emergency service responder standing over him simulating an incident. On the right the remnants of a white and blue plane.

The exercise included involvement from Avon and Somerset Police; the fire and ambulance services; HM Coastguard; Exmoor search and rescue; Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue; BARB Search and Rescue; Wessex 4×4 Response; the Rapid Relief Team; the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force; The Salvage Marine Organisation; The Air Accident Investigation Branch, South West Lakes Trust; the Environment Agency; and South West, Wessex and Bristol water companies.

Simon Bale, Avon and Somerset Police’s Contingency Planning Officer, said: “The exercise was a great success, allowing us to test our plans for these types of incidents and make sure we’re ready and well-rehearsed in case they do happen.

“Lessons identified allow us to make any required changes to our multi-agency plans and prepare our responders and commanders to work together in order to save live and minimise harm.” 

Rich Rogers, South West Water’s Health and Safety Director, said: “We’re proud to have worked with our Local Resilience Forum partners to help host and deliver this great example of continued collaborative work.

“It’s vitally important that agencies come together to test our ability to respond to significant incidents and ensure we can collectively provide the very best response to people in trouble when needed.

“This exercise also allowed us to test our own emergency procedures and incident response plans.”

Alongside the operational response exercise at the scene, a coordination group also met during the exercise to test the command structure and ensure systems were in place to share information between agencies.