newcastleolympicsA partnership, including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, has won a national award for its work to help make sure last summer's Olympic Games stayed safe and secure.

The Northumbria Local Resilience Form (NLRF)’s Olympic Exercise Planning Team (OEPT) has scooped the Emergency Planning Society's Resilience Team of the Year award.

The team was set up as a task and finish group to organise, deliver and evaluate national Olympic exercise and training events, the Olympic Torch Relay, nine Olympic football matches at Newcastle's St James’ Park and overall Olympics preparedness.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, and a member of NLRF Executive Board, said: “We are immensely proud of this award and the contribution we have made to ensure a safe and secure Olympics.

"The LRF’s success is down to its positive and proactive partnership approach. We believe that by working closely together we gain a better understanding of each other as well as developing our own skills and knowledge. This inevitably benefits the communities we serve, which has been demonstrated in receiving this award.”

The OEPT included representatives from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, Local Authorities, the North East Ambulance Service, NHS partners, the Health Protection Agency and the Military.

An OEPT core team of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council represented the OEPT at all national Olympic Exercise planning meetings and development workshops held in London.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) John Baines, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Vice Chair of the NLRF’s Business Management Group said: “We have again worked in partnership to ensure the safety of those who live, work and visit the North East.

"This multi-agency approach with category one and two responders has enabled us to develop a range of testing exercises and scenarios; employing fully the professional skills and expertise across all partners.

"By working together, we have gained significant enhancements to our operational interoperability, which will ensure optimum effectiveness should an incident occur. I am immensely proud of staff from all of the partner agencies within the Northumbrian Resilience Forum, who worked tirelessly to ensure public safety."

Northumbria LRF established an Olympic Resilience Group in June 2011 to co-ordinate the 2012 Olympics preparations in the area with all preparations being co-ordinated within the existing NLRF structure.

The Olympic Exercise Planning Team (OEPT) was established in August 2011 to concentrate specifically on Olympic exercise and training issues. The core team represented the area nationally and regularly attended the national exercise planning events as fully involved partners and were instrumental in designing the majority of scenarios used during the Newcastle Command Post Exercises (CPXs).

This ensured that the exercise scenarios assigned to Newcastle were appropriate and effective in testing local arrangements as well as national requirements.

A wide range of exercises including command post, table top, workshops, briefings and live exercises were all utilised in Olympics preparation durinig 2011/12.

The three CPX's each provided the main focus and were conducted in "real time" over a three day period. This enabled elements of the national and local Command, Co-ordination and Communications (C3) arrangements to be fully tested in a realistic controlled environment.

Posted 18/03/2013 by