Meeting demand

2007 is proving a challenging year for the UK’s emergency services. They are under pressure to respond effectively in a fast moving and demanding environment, stretching resources to the limit.

A variety of threats
In the last 12 months, the nation has experienced everything from an earthquake in Folkestone, the Cumbrian train crash, the ongoing threat of avian flu, the worst road crash in the M25’s history, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, terrorist attacks in both London and Glasgow, devastating flooding and outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey.
    
The successful response to a critical incident, be it a terrorist threat or civil emergency, is dependent on the decisive action from multiple organisations which, in turn, is reliant upon co-operation between these organisations in
the emergency planning stage to ensure they are fully prepared.
    
This was highlighted to dramatic effect with the unpredicted summer flooding. A multi-agency response to the deluge which hit much of the country involved not just the fire, police and ambulance services, but also the Highways Agency, the Environment Agency, the Met Office, the RAF, the RNLI, voluntary organisations, military personnel, utility companies and railway networks.

The definitive industry event
With the Emergency Services Show taking place in November, never has an industry event seemed quite so relevant.
    
It is the only multi-agency event to bring together all types of emergency organisations and specialist equipment suppliers from across the UK, reflecting how the emergency services work in response to incidents. It creates a unique forum to enable the sharing of information, training and hands-on experience, which is at the heart of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and integral to the development of a full co-ordinated national emergency response network.
    
Bruce Mann, Head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, will be speaking at the conference providing an update on ‘Emergency Preparedness and Response’. He outlines the importance of the Act, saying that it “creates a long term foundation for civil contingencies capable of meeting the challenges we are likely to face at national, regional and local levels.” One way it aims to achieve this is by “setting out clear expectations and responsibilities for front line responders at the local level, to ensure that they can deal with the full range of emergencies.” This is the foundation on which the Emergency Services Show has been built.

The exhibition
Health service personnel will have the chance to visit over 150 exhibitors showcasing the very latest dedicated industry products, innovations and services available.  
    
The exhibitor categories include:

  • communications & IT
  • first response equipment
  • personal pprotective equipment
  • training & education resources
  • technical rescue & medical equipment
  • vehicles & vehicle equipment
  • business continuity
  • outsourcing.

This year’s venue, Stoneleigh Park, lends itself perfectly to this kind of large scale event. An extensive outside exhibition area provides an ideal backdrop for displaying and demonstrating the latest vehicles.
    
Included amongst the organisations participating outside is the British Red Cross, showcasing its new P3 treatment and transportation vehicle, which has been specifically designed to treat and discharge priority three (P3 – walking wounded) casualities in large numbers from a major accident.
    
The International Rescue Corps will also have one of its ambulances on display – used in the Virgin rail crash and also during the operation to find the missing soldier in Catterick. It will also have its rescue boat, which was most recently utilised during the Hull floodings to rescue 132 people, 12 dogs and 6 cats.
    
In addition there will be the new ambulance from the West Midlands Ambulance Service, a major foam vehicle from the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation, the new D.I.M. vehicle (Detection, Identification and Monitoring vehicle) from West Midlands FRS, and HART equipment from the Department of Health.

The Emergency Response Zone
This is an intrinsic, unique part of the exhibition, encapsulating the spirit of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
    
It encourages the sharing of information by bringing together Category 1 and 2 responders, government, NGOs and support organisations. By learning about their functions and operating constraints, the Emergency Response Zone provides an exclusive opportunity to discover organisations whose services may prove indispensable.
    
Amongst the 50 exhibitors in this area are: Institute of Civil Defence and Disaster, the Emergency Planning Society, the Football Safety Officers Association, UK Airline Emergency Planning Officers, GO Regions, the Ambulance Service Association, Government Decontamination and many more.

The conference
The two day high profile conference, on the theme of “Improving Emergency Response”, will cover a wide range of pertinent topics relating to the challenges facing the emergency industry in the 21st Century.
    
Amongst the topics for discussion in the conference programme are the following:

  • The Health Protection Agency will discuss the public health investigation following the Litvinenko poisoning.
  • The Met Office will be talking about climate change and the ensuing disaster effects, eg. flash flooding.
  • The Department of Health will be providing an update on the Hazard Response Team (HART). This brings to life the theory of sharing skills and working practices and is the result of a government study into how emergency services respond to major disasters ranging from terrorist attacks to chemical leaks. Specially trained HART paramedics will, for the first time, be able to enter the ‘Hot Zone’ of an incident to reach casualties. Russ Mansford, Strategic Ambulance Adviser, Emergency Prepardness Division of DoH will be discussing the latest developments to these unique teams.
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service will be talking about leadership development.
  • Civil Contingencies Secretariat will be providing an update on planning, policy and operational procedures for flu pandemic preparedness.
  • The Environment Agency will be looking at lessons learnt during the flooding.

The Exhibition is free to attend, including the Emergency Response Zone. To keep updated on the exhibitors and the conference programme, and to register for both the Exhibition and the Conference, visit  www.theemergencyservicesshow2007.com .

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