5 December 2022

West Yorkshire organisations put to the test in emergency preparedness exercise

Partnership working in West Yorkshire has once again been put to the test with a no-notice exercise organised by West Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and West Yorkshire Police.

Involving 17 organisations from across West Yorkshire, Exercise GREX was designed to test the out of hours response of partner organisations, to ensure they would be ready to mobilise in an emergency, at short notice and out of working hours.

The no-notice exercise – which means partners aren’t given advanced warning an exercise will be taking place – involved West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and all five Local Authorities, together with the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), Environment Agency, British Transport Police, UKHSA, Leeds Bradford Airport, Northern Powergrid, Military, DHLUC and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Temporary Inspector Leah Bell, Manager of West Yorkshire LRF, said: “Running no-notice exercises like Exercise GREX is so important as it enables us to see how quickly our partners can respond to a scenario – just like they would need to in a real situation – and helps us identify where there may be gaps in the system.”

The exercise also tested the LRF partners’ ability to coordinate and establish a Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) at short notice. An SCG is responsible for directing the overall multi-agency response during an emergency incident, ensuring an appropriate, quick and effective response.

Leah added: “It’s essential for us to regularly test the plans and systems we have in place for mobilising partners in an emergency, as it enables us to understand where improvements can be made and continually build on our partnership working practices.”

Exercise GREX was largely successful in what it set out to achieve, though West Yorkshire LRF has recommended a small number of actions including:

  • Encouraging organisations to continue to embed the organisational use of Resilience Direct, an online private network, which enables civil protection practitioners to work together during the preparation, response and recovery phases of an event or emergency;
  • Ensuring emergency protocols are available offline in case of a power outage; and
  • Ensuring the correct individuals are included on the West Yorkshire Incident Notification system, which sends an alert to partners in the event of a multi-agency incident.

West Yorkshire LRF, also known as West Yorkshire Prepared, regularly runs practice scenarios to test partners’ ability to respond to a range of emergency situations, such as severe weather events, power outages, terrorist attacks and health pandemics.

For news and information from West Yorkshire Prepared, visit https://www.westyorkshireprepared.org.uk/ or follow us on Facebook (@WYPrepared) or Twitter (@WYRForum).