London Fire Brigade

Exercise Unified Response evaluation conference

11 October 2016

A conference evaluating Europe's largest ever disaster exercise will be held at Guildhall in London on Wednesday, 12 October.

Participants, partner agencies and delegates from across the UK and Europe will discuss the provisional findings that have been drawn from Exercise Unified Response (EUR) the most realistic and complex training ever staged in the Brigade’s 150 year history.

Over 120 attendees will discuss key issues and draft recommendations linked to how large-scale exercises could be organised in the future and what improvements need be made to the plans, protocols and procedures that are in place to deal with large-scale emergencies.

The event at the Guildhall, London has been generously supported by the City of London Corporation.

The conference will evaluate EUR's main aims, which were:

  • Test the UK's ability to activate the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (EU CPM).
  • Improve London's preparedness to deal with a large-scale emergency in conjunction with national and international partners (Italy, Hungary and Cyprus).
  • Upskill both responders and facilitators through the provision of a unique learning opportunity.

'A great success'

EUR Exercise Director and Project Sponsor Peter Cowup said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring together the key players and stakeholders to fully evaluate the largest scale exercise in UK history.

"EUR was a great success and incredibly worthwhile but like with any exercise there are always improvements that can be made and lessons to be learnt.

"All the agencies involved in EUR regularly train to deal with emergencies, but a hallmark of  this exercise was it scale and the fact it tested all the main elements of response simultaneously.

"This allowed us to test the extent to which the individual components of our response fit together and EUR provided a 'real time' and protracted validation of London's ability to deal with a major incident.

"EUR demonstrated that London is a resilient city and also allowed us to practise the arrangements that would be needed, should it ever be necessary to request assistance from outside London.

"This was the first time the European Civil Protection Mechanism – whereby member states can provide emergency assistance to each other – had been tested to this extent in the UK and EUR showed that effective arrangements are in place to work in tandem with responders from elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

"EUR's reach was far wider than purely public sector involvement and we're incredibly grateful to private sector support from RWE npower who allowed us to use Littlebrook Power Station, near Dartford, McGee Group who supplied rubble and plant to build the disaster scene, Transport for London for providing eight decommissioned train carriages and UK military for use of Woolwich barracks to accommodate incoming teams." 

The conference is now fully booked.

Exercise Unified Response

More about Europe's largest ever training exercise can be found under the Exercise Unified Response section.