More multi-agency training would improve response to major incidents, says survey

First responders across all emergency services almost unanimously believe that additional multi-agency training would improve cooperation between teams attending incidents.

Sep 19, 2013
By Paul Jacques

First responders across all emergency services almost unanimously believe that additional multi-agency training would improve cooperation between teams attending incidents.

As the emergency services’ well-coordinated and highly-commended response to the recent Sheppey Bridge road traffic incident clearly demonstrated, interoperability among police, fire and rescue and ambulance services, as well as voluntary organisations like the Red Cross, St John Ambulance and Salvation Army and private sector recovery operators, is vital to ensuring the best response to major incidents.

While a recent survey of emergency services first responders on behalf of the Emergency Services Show (being held at Birmingham NEC on September 25-26) found that more than half (54 per cent) agreed that the roles and responsibilities of each service attending emergency incidents were fully understood, and almost without exception (97 per cent) felt that further multi-agency training would improve the coordinated response to incidents. More than 80 per cent also agreed that a lack of multi-agency training can endanger lives.

While a third said they regularly train alongside other agencies to prepare for emergencies, closer to a half of those questioned said they did not.

Miscommunication emerged as by far the most common problem first responders experienced when cooperating with other emergency services at incidents, with some three quarters saying this was an issue. Under-resourcing of staff was also identified as a problem by 45 per cent, but less than a third also said over-resourcing was equally an issue.

The Fire Service College will be showcasing its innovative multi-agency incident command training experience at the Emergency Services Show. Footage from the college’s incident ground will be screened inside a hi-tech ‘igloo’, allowing visitors to experience the pressures on an incident commander at the centre of a major road traffic accident.

Visitors will also experience a taster for an immersive 3D training scenario. This will give a flavour of the 16 virtual scenarios being developed by the Fire Service College to test and exercise incident commanders, of any level, across all blue light services.

The scenarios, which will also help training delegates to develop their skills and leadership qualities, will be available at the college early next year and plans are also being finalised to deliver them ‘on-site’ nationwide.

The simulation training experience will be located on stand L60. To book a space in advance, email info@fireservicecollege.ac.uk or visit the Fire Service College’s stand, D69, at the show.

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