Village responds to major blast in mock exercise

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The small coastal village of Anderby is the centre of a major disaster exercise today as residents will be supporting emergency services in dealing with the aftermath of a large explosion.

The mock exercise, dubbed ‘Barnes Wallis’, which has been organised by the county’s emergency planning team. It’s the first time ever in England that community groups have taken part in a mock-disaster exercise of this type.

Anderby’s voluntary emergency response team (AVERT) will be challenged to inform residents what is happening, set up and manage places of safety, evacuate people from their homes and communicate with the emergency services.

Meanwhile, the communities of Wyberton and Suttons on the Wash will work through the same scenario via a table top exercise.

All three community groups will be supported in the exercise by Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, the British Red Cross, Lincolnshire County Council and a variety of other voluntary and statutory organisation.

David Powell, head of emergency planning for Lincolnshire County Council, said: “With any emergency you might expect that the police or fire and rescue will just take care of it, and most of the time you would be right. But if there was another emergency elsewhere in the county, we might need the help of community groups. This is about improving our resilience.

He added: “Community groups can play a really important part by informing other residents what is happening, encouraging them to take action and by offering support. The local knowledge they have can also be extremely useful.

“In this exercise volunteers from Anderby, Wyberton and the Suttons will be working with firefighters and police officers to protect lives just as they would in a real crisis.

“We have worked with these groups to design their own emergency plans and other communities can get involved by contacting us.”

Gerry Chidley, leader of Anderby Volunteer Emergency Response Team (AVERT), says: “Ever since the threat of flooding to our village in December 2013 we have been looking at how we can provide a fast and organised local response to major emergencies. It’s important for us to do this as we are a remote rural coastal community, at the very edge of statutory response times.

“This is a great opportunity for us to test our plans and we are looking forward to working with other volunteers, the emergency services and the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum.”

For more information about making an emergency plan call 01522 582220 or email jems@lincoln.fire-uk.org.