City stages emergency exercise

By on 26/10/2011 in News

The largest emergency planning exercise to take place in Birmingham this year is being led by the city council on Sunday (October 30).

Birmingham Shield is the latest in a series of exercises organised by the Birmingham Resilience Team, and will assess how prepared the city would be in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident.

Police, firefighters, ambulance, hospital and other emergency personnel from across the region will be involved, alongside 100 volunteers playing the part of injured and uninjured survivors. Those involved are not being taken away from their normal duties for the exercise.

Some will be put through a decontamination procedure and taken to hospitals or survivor centres - just as they would should a real emergency occur.

The exercise is not in response to any specific threat, but is part of an ongoing programme of exercises to ensure Birmingham is thoroughly prepared for a range of major emergencies and disasters, should the worst case scenario ever unfold.

Planning for the event began at the turn of the year, and will see a small number of road restrictions in the Broad Street area, to ensure the safety of volunteers and to accommodate the vehicles and equipment needed to respond to the incident.

The roads affected during the exercise will have restricted access between 8am and 1.30pm. Access to all frontages will be maintained. Those roads within the restricted area are:

•    Broad Street: traffic both ways between Paradise Circus and Gas Street.
•    Bridge Street: from the Hyatt Hotel entrance to the junction with Broad Street.
•    Pedestrians will be required to use the footway nearest the ICC between Paradise Circus and Gas Street, unless access to frontages is required.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Anyone in the city centre on Sunday may see large numbers of emergency service vehicles - but I want to reassure them that they need not be alarmed.

“We are always looking at how we can refine our processes and procedures to ensure the city is best prepared for any emergency, and everyone involved with this exercise is keen to get stuck in and put their skills to the test.

“I'm sure those participating will show everyone in Birmingham and beyond that we are as ready as we can be for such emergencies.”

Ends

Notes to editors

About the Birmingham Resilience Team:

The Birmingham Resilience Team (BRT) is made up of officers from the City Council, the Police and Fire Services, and the National Health Service (NHS), and is based at Birmingham Council House.

The BRT has responsibility for:

•    planning and responding to different types of emergencies and business disruptions, including natural events, major accidents and malicious attacks;
•    warning and informing communication systems and processes for the public and businesses to increase pre emergency preparedness, communication during emergencies and post emergency to support recovery;
•    provision of specialist advice and support to colleagues to enable council wide compliance with statutory resilience duties.

The BRT fulfils its responsibilities by:

•    providing a 24/7 emergency response function to act as a single point of contact for emergency services to liaise with the council regarding both major emergencies and minor emergencies that require several council divisions to be involved in emergency response activities. BRT also maintains a range of corporate equipment and resources that can be deployed as part of a Council emergency response. BRT works to agreed response timescales with the emergency services and depending on the circumstances of an incident endeavour to establish emergency facilities within three hours of notification by the emergency services of the need.
•    ensuring that Birmingham City Council major emergency planning arrangements are fit for purpose across a wide range of emergency scenarios and business disruptions. All plans are reviewed regularly and a comprehensive training and exercising programme is in place (exercises vary and can be role based, for internal officers, multi agency and/or involving communities, businesses, etc).  BRT ensures that council officers deployed or involved in a major emergency response are clear of their role and have any necessary skills or equipment available to them.

The BRT mission is to ensure Birmingham is a resilient city by providing a professional service, through actively working with responder partners and by engaging communities and businesses via a range of warning and informing methods, before, during and after emergencies.

For more information contact Kris Kowalewski at Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 3621

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