All the project stakeholders associated with the National Resilience Extranet (NRE) and Gold Standard (which are both Cabinet Office initiatives) are delighted to announce the successful integration of the NRE into “Exercise Longwool Ingot 3” delivered by Gold Standard on 9 February 2011 at the Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Lincolnshire. The exercise focused on a severe weather event occurring across the UK, causing widespread fluvial flooding and a tidal surge in the Lincolnshire area. Strategic Managers from across the Lincolnshire Local Resilience Forum Partnership participated in the exercise – including members from all three emergency services, all Local Authorities, the Environment Agency, Anglian Water, Local Health Authorities, the Military Liaison team and the Red Cross.
As one of 31 LRFs participating in Exercise Watermark, the Lincolnshire team used the Gold Standard exercise to support their preparation for Exercise Watermark which is due to take place between 4 – 11 March 2011.
Gold Standard has been delivering simulation based, strategic level exercises across the UK since 2007, and has covered a broad spectrum of events including severe weather, human pandemic, sudden impact events such as plane crashes, and hazardous incidents such as chemical spillages. As Gold Standard is a service delivery, every exercise is individually tailored for local geography and risks, and there is no requirement to invest in expensive hardware and software. Furthermore, all of the scripting and injects are written by the Gold Standard team, so Emergency Planners and other specialists do not have to spend hours in advance of an exercise preparing all of the material.
“Secure information sharing and management is a crucial element of any incident – as accurate and timely information helps to ensure that informed decisions can be made by the Strategic Gold Commanders” said Keith Strickland, Cabinet Office Gold Standard Exercise Director. “By linking together the Gold Standard exercise delivery system with the NRE in this way, the participants are able to practice information sharing and management in a simulated emergency environment – and consequently develop and improve their processes and procedures for use in a real event.”
With planning well underway for all participants taking part in Exercise Watermark, it is essential that if organisations or agencies plan to use the NRE during Exercise Watermark they prepare accordingly. Users and Sponsors should have all their log-in details to hand and have logged in to the NRE recently. “Regularly utilising and exercising the NRE service is key to successful day-to-day planning and emergency response” says John Harrison, Cabinet Office Civil Contingencies Secretariat NRE Project Manager. “The NRE is a tool that supports you and your organisation; it’s up to you to maximise your organisations investment in the NRE as each day more and more helpful and useful information is securely shared. If you or your organisation require any NRE support in preparation for or you think you may need support during Exercise Watermark, please get in touch with Ultra as soon as possible”.
Further information on the NRE and Gold Standard can be found on the Cabinet Office website. For direct NRE enquiries call the Ultra Service Desk on 01772 907 600, and for direct Gold Standard enquiries call the Gold Standard Business Manager Bev Osborne on 07912 595564.