Exercise Citizen - major incident training exercise
Emergency services and other agencies are carrying out a live exercise at locations in Brighton, Eastbourne and Mid Sussex today (14 May).
Most training takes place out of view but this exercise will take place in public, albeit in designated areas, to make it as realistic as possible.
The activity will be centred around Brighton, Eastbourne and Mid Sussex. Residents and businesses nearest the activity have been made aware although they should not be affected.
Exercise planners do not want to be specific about what the exercise involves or where the locations are to make the spontaneous response to these emergency situations realistic.
Exercise director Steve Voice, Sussex Police, said: "Local people may notice considerable emergency service activity in these areas today. They can rest assured that far from having anything to worry about, this is actually a prudent test of our major incident plans and how we work with partners.
"It is extremely beneficial to the police and other agencies to test contingency plans, as directed by the Home Secretary, in a practical way and to continuously improve our service.
"The scenarios we are testing are exceptional and are of a magnitude that allows us to test all the likely resources available.
"The exercise will be conducted in designated areas and disruption, other than maybe short delays to traffic caused by emergency vehicles responding to the exercise, will be kept to a minimum. The public will not be affected and can expect business as usual with emergency services responding to routine and emergency calls."
Nearly 20 partners - colleagues from fire, ambulance and police as well as some local authorities, health services, Highways Agency and others - are taking part in the exercise in line with their statutory duty, under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, to plan, train and exercise a co-ordinated response to incidents that may affect Sussex.
Following the test in responding to the major incidents the exercise will continue tomorrow (Thursday) in Brighton with police working with HM Coroner in testing victim identity and recovery.
Senior Contingency Planning & Resilience Manager at South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) Steve Carpenter said: "Exercises such as this are vital to test the already robust plans we have in place in the event of a major incident. We're looking forward to working with our fellow emergency services as well as NHS and voluntary service colleagues to rehearse our plans in a realistic environment. The exercise will further strengthen our strong relationships and enhance our preparation to assist local communities in the event of a serious incident."
Group Manager Glenn Jones from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: "We are delighted to be part of this major exercise. We work closely with other emergency services on a regular basis but - thankfully - incidents are rarely on a large scale. It is therefore vital we get the opportunity to experience different situations and test out how we can co-ordinate our response alongside other emergency services. We want to ensure we are effective in keeping those living, working and visiting this area safe."
The exercise is being planned through the Sussex Resilience Forum which ensures organisations across the area are working in a coordinated way to help prevent and prepare for major emergencies and to advise local people what they can do to be aware and prepared.
The Sussex Resilience Forum is made up of blue light services, local authorities, health services and other responders who all form various working groups to draw-up and test plans for emergencies which may affect Sussex, the most recent being flooding.
We would appreciate media publicising the exercise on the day to offer reassurance to the public who may see increased blue light activity. We don't want them to worry but to understand that it is important that agencies test plans in a realistic setting.