Emergency Service Training Exercise in Leeds
16 March 2012
Yorkshire Ambulance Service and other emergency services from across West Yorkshire will be conducting a large-scale training exercise in Leeds this weekend.
The training operation will take place in the heart of the city centre from 9am through to 2pm on Sunday 18 March.
It forms part of national series of exercises aimed at ensuring cities across the UK are prepared in the event of an incident involving a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) element.
Leeds City Council will also be taking part in the multi-agency exercise which is based around the process of decontaminating people affected by such an incident and their subsequent care and support in a survivor reception centre.
The exercise is not a planned response to any specific threat but is one of a number of other similar exercises that have taken place across the country to ensure that major cities like Leeds are thoroughly prepared for a range of major emergencies and disasters should the worst case scenario ever occur.
Mick Hardaker, the Hazardous Area Response Team Manager at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “This exercise will create a realistic environment from which to test our plans and procedures for handling such an incident and, although it will be simulation, it will be as real to life as it gets so will put our staff through their paces.
“Multi-agency exercises like this one also offer us a real opportunity to work together with our emergency service colleagues to reassure us that the things we have practised separately will work when we’re operating side-by-side.”
Chief Superintendent Christopher Hardern, from West Yorkshire Police, said: "Training exercises like this provide a valuable opportunity for the emergency services and other agencies across West Yorkshire to refine our ability to deal with a major incident.
"I understand that it may be concerning to see a large number of emergency services vehicles in the centre of Leeds but I want to reassure people this exercise is not in response to any perceived threat but is about making sure the city is best prepared for any type emergency."
Group Manager Nigel Craven, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "West Yorkshire's firefighters are some of the best trained and equipped in the country but it's essential that we constantly test our capabilities in realistic scenarios.
"It's also important to remember that in large-scale incidents individual emergency services don't work alone and that their effectiveness largely depends on how well all agencies can work seamlessly together."
During the exercise, a small number of road closures will be necessary to accommodate emergency service resources and those playing members of the public as part of the exercise. The closures will only affect road users; pedestrian access will be maintained via footpaths.
The road closures are as follows:
• The Headrow (eastbound only) from Oxford Place to Calverley Street
• The Headrow (both directions) from Calverley Street to Cookridge Street
• Cookridge Street from The Headrow to Great George Street (egress from the Light car park will be maintained)
Access to the loop road will be maintained throughout.
Closures will be in place from 6am on Sunday and are expected to re-open throughout the afternoon period.
Cookridge Street parking bay suspensions will commence throughout Saturday 17 March to ensure no public vehicles are left parked on the site of the exercise on Sunday morning.
Emergency service vehicles and resources will be accommodated on the closed off areas of the Headrow, Victoria Gardens and Cookridge Street.
Public access will not be permitted to these areas during the period of the exercise. West Yorkshire Police will have officers stationed at various locations around the site to advise the public.
Notes to Editors:
At 1pm there will be an opportunity to speak to representatives from West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at 1pm on the steps at the front of the Town Hall. Any reporters wishing to do this are asked to register their interest with Roger Boyd at Leeds City Council Press Office, tel: 0113 2475472.
No media access will be permitted beyond the closed off areas. For guidance, the best opportunity to obtain footage of the exercise is thought to be between 9-10am.
Produced By: Corporate Communications Department