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February 2014

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Volume 15 | 1


ESTCONTENTS | 1

3

17

21

32

IN EVERY ISSUE Comment

3

News

4

Events

10

Profile

17

People

37

Company Profile

21

Products

48

Last Words

52

IN THIS ISSUE INTEROPERABILITY 13 Read how JESIP is focused on developing and delivering a massive training programme specifically designed to improve how emergency services work together in the early stages of major and complex incidents, plus Merseyside gets ready to migrate to a Joint Control Centre for the region’s police and fire and rescue services

5

FITNESS

35 42

49

20

Justin Johnston, Chair of CFOA’s FireFit Steering Group, is often asked for his opinion on the highly topical question of age and fitness of firefighters – here Justin discusses the topic with reference to the UK’s general population and, through the findings of recent studies, reveals what he calls a ‘wake-up call’ for firefighter fitness

SEVERE WEATHER 22 How the emergency services responded to the East Coast tidal surge in December and the widespread flooding, which has brought misery upon peoples’ lives since the New Year – from rescues, to welfare, innovative ‘sandbags’ to storm damage clean-up

25

INNOVATIONS IN PPE

38

Details of the NUMS project, which aims to significantly change the way in which police and other organisations procure their uniform clothing, Ballyclare acquires the Lion firefighter business in the UK, TEXPORT launches eyecatching fire and rescue clothing at the A+A trade exhibition and Jill Emmanuel from Alexandra workwear discusses whether paramedics are sufficiently protected by their PPE when responding to incidents w w w. e m e r g e n c y s e r v i c e s t i m e s . c o m

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2 | ESTA-Z

Companies

Company Name

Page No

Company Name

Page No

Company Name

Page No

Company Name

Page No

AA SORT..................................................................32

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service ........................5

Land Rover ...............................................................32

Red One Limited .......................................................6

Aireshelta ..................................................................33

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service..6, 35

Lec Medical ..............................................................48

Rennicks UK ............................................................49

Airwave Solutions ......................................................9

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service................................9

Leicestershire Police..................................................5

Alexandra workwear ................................................42

Duplex Corporate Communications Ltd.................6

Leicestershire SAR ..................................................28

Aligned Assets ............................................................4

DuPont Personal Protection ...................................43

LHD Group ..............................................................39

Ambition 2014..........................................................10

East Midlands Ambulance Service.........................37

Life Connections 2014.............................................10

Armadillo Merino ....................................................44

East of England Ambulance Service ......................37

Lincolnshire Police....................................................5

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service..............................5

Association of Ambulance Chief Executives...........4

Emergency Planning College..................................13

Lowland Rescue .......................................................28

Skills for Justice..........................................................4

Association of Chief Police Officers.............4, 17, 38

Environment Agency.........................................25, 32

Lyon Equipment Ltd.........................................31, 50

Avon Fire and Rescue Service ..................................9

Somerset County Council........................................35

Essex SAR .................................................................28

Balcan Engineering Ltd ..........................................36

Maritime and Coastguard Agency............................9

Excelerate Technology ...............................................6

South East Coast Ambulance Service ......................5

Ballyclare Limited ...................................................39

FC Media Ltd...........................................................52

BeaverFit...................................................................21

Fibrelight Developments Limited ...........................6

Bond Air Services.......................................................9

The Fire Service College .........................................13

Bristol Uniforms ......................................................47

FireFit .......................................................................20

British Heart Foundation........................................20

FLIR Systems Inc ....................................................48

British Red Cross .....................................................33

Flood Forecasting Centre........................................25

British Transport Police ....................................13, 38

Ford .............................................................................4

Brother ......................................................................48

Gwent Police...............................................................4

Cambridgeshire SAR ...............................................28 Capita...........................................................................9

HAAGEN Fire Training Products .........................48

Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime ............19, 38 Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service ......................15 Merseyside Police.....................................................15 Met Office .................................................................25

Rosenbauer................................................................47 Royal Life Saving Society .......................................36 Royal National Lifeboat Institution ..................5, 28

South Wales Police .....................................................4 South Yorkshire Police ..............................................9 SP Services..........................................................32, 46

Metropolitan Police ...........................................19, 38

Supacat ......................................................................50

Midlands Air Ambulance..........................................9

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service ..............................33

Mölnlycke Health Care............................................49

TEXPORT................................................................41

Mountain Rescue England and Wales ...................37 MSA Safety ...............................................................44 National Ambulance Resilience Unit ..............13, 37

Tracerlite ...................................................................46 United Kingdom Border Agency...........................38

CFOA National Resilience Ltd ..............................23

Haix – Schuhe Produktions- und Vertriebs GmbH ...................................................44

Cheshire Constabulary...............................................9

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service ......................37

North East Ambulance Service...........................5, 37

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service ........................6, 9

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service..................47

North Fire plc...........................................................47

Welsh Ambulance Service.........................................4

Chief Fire Officers' Association..............4, 20, 23, 25

HM Coastguard ........................................................13

North West Ambulance Service................................9

West Mercia Police...................................................17

Civil Nuclear Constabulary.....................................13

Home Office................................................................6

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service ...........4

West Midlands SAR.................................................28

Cleveland Fire Brigade ..............................................9

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service ....................24

CM Specialist Vehicles...............................................6

Humberside Police.....................................................9

College of Policing ...................................................13

Icom.............................................................................6

Counter Terror Expo 2014.......................................10

Irish Ambulance Service ...........................................5

CQC Limited ..............................................................6

Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust....................9

Critical Healthcare.....................................................5

Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme .......................3, 4, 13

DEFRA................................................................24, 28 Department for Communities and Local Government ...............................................23 Derbyshire Constabulary ..........................................5

Niton Equipment Ltd..............................................46

Northamptonshire Police......................................4, 5

University of Bath....................................................20 VUE CCTV.................................................................5

Whitby & District Fishing

Northern Diver.........................................................28

Industry Training School ......................................9

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service............37

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service ...........................9

Nottinghamshire Police.............................................5 Peli Products.............................................................49 PETZL ......................................................................50

Wood & Douglas ......................................................49 Woodall Nicholson Group.........................................6 Woodhead MRT .......................................................37

Kent SAR ..................................................................28

Police Scotland ...........................................................4

Kermel.......................................................................46

Police Service of Northern Ireland...................18, 37

YDS Boots.................................................................46

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service ......................20

Professional Clothing Show....................................10

Yorkshire Ambulance Service.................................37

Company Name

Company Name

Company Name

Advertisers Company Name

Page No

Page No

Page No

Page No

Airwave Solutions Ltd.................................OFC, 12

CFOA (National Resilience) Ltd ..........................16

Lyon Equipment Limited........................................7

Supacat Ltd .............................................................16

AMBITION 2014....................................................30

Tracerlite..................................................................36

Duplex Corporate Communications Ltd..............21

Mercedes-Benz.....................................................IFC

Armadillo Merino...................................................45

Excelerate Technology Ltd ............26, 27, 31, 35, 47

North Fire plc .........................................................11

Ballyclare Limited ..................................................45

Goliath Footwear (YDS Boots)..............................40

Primetech UK Ltd..................................................22

BeaverFit .................................................................21

HAAGEN Fire Training Products..........................8

RSG Engineering Limited.....................................30

British ACPO 2014 .................................................34

Haix – Schuhe Produktions- und

Security and Policing 2014 ....................................11

University of Leicester.............................................8 VectorCommand .....................................................14 Vimpex Limited......................................................40

British Red Cross....................................................29

Vertriebs GmbH..................................................43

SP Services (UK) Ltd ........................................OBC

Wm Sugden & Sons Ltd ........................................45

Collins Nets Ltd......................................................30

Life Connections 2014.........................................IBC

Strongs Plastic Products Ltd.................................19

Zodiac MILPRO UK Ltd......................................29

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ESTCOMMENT | 3

ISSN 1472-1090 Date: February 2014

Editor: David J. Holden MEng(Hons) Twitter: @999editor davidholden@brodenmedia.com Advertisement Manager: David Brown davidbrown@brodenmedia.com Advertisement Sales: Carol Fox carolfox@brodenmedia.com Office & Events Manager: Lesley Stevenson lesleystevenson@brodenmedia.com Marketing Manager: Emma Nicholls emmanicholls@brodenmedia.com Circulation: Christine Knoll

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Flooding highlights importance of improved joint working at major incidents Words: David Jervis, JESIP Senior Communications Advisor. Events of major disaster and tragedy, including terrorist acts, lone gunman attacks and plane crashes, are comparatively rare in this country. However one insidious type of disaster is gaining in frequency and blighting the lives of many thousands – often again and again. That is, of course, flooding. Parts of the UK have been under water for over two months now and some areas have endured the highest rainfall in over 200 years. Lives have been devastated.

management of a crisis develops. The need to improve joint working between the emergency services in a number of aspects, including inter-agency communication, was clearly shown in the Pollock Report. Lessons had not always been learned after major incidents. JESIP exists to fill those gaps, to ensure that those lessons are learned so more lives are saved and less people suffer harm.

In the October 2013 report by Dr Kevin Pollock, which reviews lessons that should have been learned from major incidents since 1986, three of the last eight events he looked at were floods – in Boscastle, Carlisle and Hull.

The need for JESIP was underlined further by a report commissioned from Skills for Justice, which showed glaringly through an extensive survey that joint training and exercising by the three services was badly needed. (See page 4)

Flooding and extreme weather now seems to be a permanent fixture in the lives of many and on our TV news screens.

The reports by Dr Pollock and Skills for Justice can be found on the JESIP website (www.jesip.org.uk) where you will be able to find all you need to know about the programme including a short, introductory film featuring the Home Secretary.

The emergency services, together with colleagues in the many Category 1 and 2 responder organisations, have been working tirelessly to save lives, reduce harm to people and property and facilitate a speedy and smooth return to normality. Some situations have required a national response where services find themselves working with colleagues from outside their areas under mutual aid agreements. JESIP gathers momentum

It is therefore more than timely that the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) has hit the road running in 2014 and gathering momentum across the country. This Government-supported initiative by the three blue-light emergency services has created a huge training programme designed to improve further the way ambulance, police and fire and rescue services work together in the early stages of the response to a major incident. In fact, JESIP is the largest and most ambitious joint training programme ever undertaken by the 105 blue light services. While JESIP is all about those early stages in responding to major incidents, it is anticipated that the improvement in communication and mutual understanding will have a positive impact as the

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Training delivered

Areas first to deliver the JESIP training were West Yorkshire and Norfolk combined with Suffolk. West Midlands and Kent soon followed with many other areas hot on their heels. Those being trained are personnel who are likely to be operational commanders in the early stages of a major incident. Separate courses are being conducted for tactical commanders. Many thousands will have been trained by September this year. A further course for control room staff is currently being developed, as are e-learning courses for all emergency service operational staff and a wider awareness package for Cat 1 and 2 responders. Planning for what follows JESIP when the programme ends in September is well advanced. Legacy arrangements will ensure that training continues, exposing all operational emergency service staff and Cat 1 and 2 responders to JESIP training, either faceto-face or by e-learning. For further information on JESIP training and JESIP principles go to page 13. www.jesip.org.uk

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24 | ESTSEVERE WEATHER

Tidal surge tests east coast resilience The east coast tidal surge of December 2013 was worse than its notorious predecessor of 1953, which brought death and widespread devastation, but the impact was much less severe. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service played a key role in that success and here senior officers explain the background and tactics, which helped to defy the effects of nature and keep communities safe in the face of extreme and unpredictable conditions. In January 2013 Humberside’s Chief Fire Officer Richard Hannigan organised the launch of the East Coast Tidal Inundation Planning Framework, the culmination of several years’ work to improve the region’s resilience should a potentially catastrophic tidal surge occur. The Framework is the blueprint for how public authorities should work together during those conditions. Mr Hannigan remembers, “It was attended by Defra Minister Richard Benyon and I was able to say with confidence that if we suffered a tidal surge we were ready and could cope, never believing that within a year we would be put to the test.” That test came 10 months later, when a tidal surge hit parts of the coast and communities in the Humber estuary. The Framework was one part of a jigsaw, which had been in creation since the summer floods of 2007, following which shortcomings were identified in the way the authorities, including the fire and rescue service, were able to respond. Firefighters were found to lack both the equipment and training to deal with large area flooding. “We had a high volume pump but we didn’t have protection and training for firefighters to operate for protracted periods [In 2007],” said Mr Hannigan. “We found them working in standard fire kit for up to nine hours, knee deep in water. In winter we could not have sustained the operation.” The service’s command and control systems also experienced problems. Resources were mobilised as requested, with no prioritisation and, eight hours in, a desktop risk analysis was needed, resulting in resources being redeployed. The service spent several years making improvements, including better training and equipment. Firefighters now have better personal protection equipment and the service has a range of specialist equipment, including five powered boats. Some of the cost has been met externally, including a DEFRA grant, but the service has invested and will continue to invest in what is regarded as crucial area of its work, despite reducing budgets. That reflects the service’s ‘vision’ of providing a wider offering to the communities it serves than traditional fire and rescue services, including the prevention of flood damage. An early indication of the effectiveness of those changes came in the winter of 2012 when Beverley and Burton Fleming were both threatened by floods. December 2013 preparations Warnings for December’s tidal inundation were relatively late. A yellow warning, triggering no action beyond vigilance, was issued three days ahead, increased to an amber warning the following day. That prompted the formation of a tactical command group at police headquarters, with

Photo: Hull Daily Mail.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service requesting additional high volume pumps and boat rescue teams. “On the morning of 5 December the flood warning became severe for the Humberside area. The area under greatest threat appeared to be parts of Grimsby and Cleethorpes and the Trent villages,” said Mr Hannigan. “In response to that, we contacted Humberside International Airport and asked to use their car park as a strategic holding area and they agreed. “Area Manager Phil Jackson was responsible for coordinating all resources and we put into being our spate conditions plan. That involves having operational commanders in geographical areas, in charge of a set of resources. “AM Jackson’s task was to assess the relative severity of areas affected and allocate incidents to operational commanders. His role was pivotal. “The Deputy Chief Officer, Dene Sanders, was deployed to strategic command group at Clough Road Police Station in Hull and, as the Chief Fire Officer, I was in overall command of fire and rescue resources. “At 15.00hrs it was clear the tidal surge was going to be bigger than anyone had seen in the Humberside area since 1953. Evacuations were carried out in parts of Grimsby and Cleethorpes and the Trent villages.”

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Tidal inundation The first flooding reports emerged unexpectedly at Bridlington, where no flooding was forecasted, with up to four feet of water in some areas. “Then we had reports of Hornsea suffering flooding. Fifteen minutes later a caravan site in Kilnsea was cut off by rising tides,” said Mr Hannigan. “It was disconcerting to see the tidal surge unfolding down the east coast and we braced ourselves for the forecasted flooding in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. “Much to everybody’s surprise we began to receive reports of the Humber overtopping sea defences in Hull. This had not been forecasted. One early report was that 300 cars were afloat in a car park in a low laying part of Hull. Another was that a riverside restaurant was up to the ground floor windows in water. So we rapidly had to assess the relative risk to Hull and Grimsby and decided where to deploy resources. “We turned and deployed towards Hull and parts of the East Riding. As the surge continued we began to get reports on both the north and south banks of the Humber, up to the Humber Bridge. “Finally the surge reached the River Trent and began to overtop around the Trent villages. We prioritised our resources according to life risk,” he said. During three hours of high water, 181 people

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ESTSEVERE WEATHER | 25 were rescued. The water receded quickly after the tide turned. Effective communication A further inundation expected the following morning did not happen, because the wind had eased. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders, who will take over as Chief Fire Officer from 1 April 2014, was at Strategic Command Group, which operated from Humberside Police’s Clough Road Police station and involved all the principle public services. He said, “We had 40 minutes’ notice of the tidal surge overtopping in Hull, that is not a lot of time. To warn people the area was going to flood we used both traditional and social media. There was no time to evacuate and we advised people to get onto the first floor. “We had reports from Kingston Communications (Hull’s telecommunications provider) that they could lose the 999 system because the central exchange became vulnerable. We had to deploy resources very quickly to keep it safe, although there were contingencies in place. “There were reports that a gas line going through the village of Paull had shifted but that turned out not to be such a problem, though we had contemplated deploying staff there.” Safety warnings The incident with most potential for tragedy was a report of three people missing from a jetty on the River Trent but they were found safe and well following a search. There was also concern for the welfare of those who were seen, apparently fascinated, out watching the waves coming in as the inundation grew, resulting in safety warnings from the service.

“In 1953 over 130 people died during the tidal surge. In 2013, nobody died. That is testament to better sea defences, better planning, better multi-agency working and better equipment.” Effective communication was a vital part of the service’s response to changing risks for the public as the surge developed. The Corporate Communication team played a critical role in warning and informing the public as part of the media cell at strategic command, relaying information directly to the public, via Twitter, Facebook and its own website, as well as using traditional methods by keeping the media briefed. The success of that strategy can be measured in internet traffic, with the service’s Facebook followers trebling to almost 5000 in the space of 24 hours, with 107,000 views of updated advice on the site. New control room facilities were created in 2013, going live only days before the surge. Changes meant more call handlers could be accommodated and different parts of the command team had the space to work. Area manager Jackson said, “We had recently opened our re-launched control suite. It was the first time it was really tested and it worked very well.”

When it became clear there would be no second inundation, it left the fire and rescue service clear to start helping affected communities get back to normal. That work involved a multi-agency operation to pump out seawater trapped behind defences on the south bank of the Humber, which had been overtopped. Group Manager Paul McCourt was involved in coordinating that operation, which was completed quickly due to the use of resources from three organisations working together. Valuable lessons learned The response to the surge was regarded as a success for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service and the other bodies involved; valuable lessons were learned. Among the key changes will be an improvement in communications between Strategic Command Group and service headquarters, using live screens rather than telephone calls. There were also no live images available, so those in command could not actually see the conditions to which they were responding. Good planning and flexibility, which allowed resources to be moved to meet unexpected threats, were among the keys to that success. “In 1953 over 130 people died during the tidal surge. In 2013, nobody died. That is testament to better sea defences, better planning, better multiagency working and better equipment.” “I would like to pay tribute to the staff of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service who performed magnificently and also the Local Resilience Forum who planned so well and operated so effectively together,” said CFO Hannigan. www.humbersidefire.gov.uk

Focus on coastal flood forecasting Many of you will already be familiar with the Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC) – the successful working partnership between the Environment Agency and Met Office that specialises in providing professional emergency responders with flood risk guidance. At the forefront of forecasting science, the FFC produces risk-based guidance of the likelihood of flooding and the potential impacts. The centre provides routine guidance that gives a five-day outlook by county for England and Wales. The approach is the same whether it is flooding from rivers, the sea, surface water or groundwater – the four natural flood sources – and even when they are all happening at once. “In early December we played a key role in the lead up to and during one of the largest coastal floods for 60 years,” explained Dr Crystal Moore, FFC Head of Centre. The event Dr Moore refers to is the coastal flood of 5/6 December 2013 when an Atlantic storm combined with high spring tides and a lowpressure system. The result was a series of surges starting on the west coast followed by the east and south coasts. “We had already experienced a less severe surge on the east coast in early October, which had helped us fine tune our coastal forecasting and how we communicate the risk to our customers. So, to

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be able to use that learning so soon after the October surge meant that we had vastly improved visuals to help convey both the areas at risk and the scale of that risk. In the early December coastal flood 2800km of coastline were affected, and this had the potential to spread emergency resources very thinly.” Working in partnership Another key learning opportunity during 5/6 December was the location of a liaison officer from the Chief Fire Officers’ Association in the FFC overnight. “This was the first time we had worked jointly in this way and it was really helpful to us and the fire service to be able to exchange forecast and impact information with each other,” explained Dr Moore.

The FFC Flood Guidance Statement complements the Met Office National Severe Weather Warning Service and the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales local flood warnings giving a complete (as possible) picture for forecast flood risk. There is a jointly produced suite of materials on these related products for emergency responders – quick guides, e-learning, users guides, training presentations, case study learning summaries and more. Registered users can download the resources from the Flood Forecasting Centre library on the Met Office Hazard Manager system. For more information contact the FFC on 0300 12345 01 or e-mail: ffcenquiries@environmentagency.gov.uk. www.ffc-environment-agency.metoffice.gov.uk

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52 | ESTLAST WORDS

Protecting organisational reputation When three-year-old Mikaeel Kular was reported missing from his home in Edinburgh on the morning of 16 January, Police Scotland immediately knew that they needed to get the media on board. Within minutes they issued a press release appealing for the public’s help to trace him and within an hour the Corporate Communications Office had been invited to attend a strategy meeting. Words: Susan Blackburn, Head of Media Training, FC Media Ltd. Further infoormation and a more detailed description of Mikaeel, including a photo, were included in a second press release. Superintendent Liz McAinsh held news conferences and officers gave one-to-one briefings with reporters. Sky News, the BBC, ITV News, all the Scottish media showed pictures of officers scouring the area, lifting dustbin lids and searching under hedges. There was no doubt to the public that officers were employing all their highly trained detective skills and doing their very best to find him. Use of social media Susan Lumsden, Head of Communications for Police Scotland East, says they used social media extensively. She said, “Firstly we utilised it to publicise all of our press releases to as wide an audience as possible and secondly it was used as a method of continued engagement with the local community.” Superintendent Liz McAinsh’s appeals for information were sympathetic, human. Her tone and appearance made her part of the local community. Hundreds of local people joined in the search. Across the UK, people discussed the story at the hairdressers, in the pub and at the school gates. Everyone desperately hoped Mikaeel would be found. All eyes were focused on the police and their investigation. When Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham had the terrible task of announcing that Mikaeel’s body had been discovered, his news conference was clear and well structured. He clearly acknowledged the emotion of the situation. When he sincerely thanked the public and the media for their help in the search for Mikaeel, he strengthened the relationship between the police and the community. This was an example of the police working with the media at its best. According to Susan Lumsden, both Superintendent Liz McAinsh and Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham received full media briefings prior to the news conferences and interviews, and both have undertaken media training. This was invaluable when the force was in the spotlight and the response had to be fast. Staff working for the emergency services have traditionally been reluctant to talk to the media and unlike commercial organisations, few have received media training. There always used to be a press officer, who kept journalists at arm’s length. But the media has changed dramatically over the past few years. Every member of the public with a mobile phone has now become a reporter. The London bombings in July 2005 was the first Major Incident where reports and pictures provided by the public and sent to broadcasters were far ahead of the information provided by the police.

Susan Blackburn is a former Senior Producer and Editor on the BBC’s Six and Ten O’clock News. Susan Blackburn is the Head of Media Training for FC Media Ltd, which provides bespoke scenario-based media training courses to the Emergency Services.

With the advent of social media we now live in a world of instant news and the emergency services need to respond much more rapidly. More people now need to be trained so that they can engage effectively with the press. As soon as there’s a Major Incident now, the public are on the scene with mobile phones; they take the video and photos, which can ‘go viral’ long before the emergency services or news organisations can get to the scene. Who will ever forget the video images of Michael Adebolajo, the murderer of Drummer Lee Rigby with blood on his hands? He asked people on a bus to film him with their mobile phones minutes after hacking the soldier to death and within half an hour footage was being shown on ITV and bought by newspapers and broadcasters all over the world. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter made the story global within minutes. Broadcasters have recruited teams to take in and verify this material. Paul Royall, Editor of the BBC’s Six and Ten O’clock News programmes, says, “People anywhere in the world can report what they are seeing, send in pictures, any visual material of what they’re seeing, talk about events in a fast, efficient, immediate way that gives us information that previously years ago we just wouldn’t have had access to.” Embrace this engagement Press officers working for the emergency services have much less control over what gets into the public domain. Paul Royall continues, “If there was a Major Incident, or event, a motorway accident or a plane crash, we would expect a wide range of material from the public very, very quickly – eyewitnesses, people who are there, people who potentially have survived, people passing the scene, moving to the scene, would quickly be providing us

E m e r g e n c y S e r v i c e s Ti m e s Fe b r u a r y 2 0 1 4

with pictures, all sorts of material that potentially can aid our reporting.” To keep in control it’s vital to anticipate public comment – to stamp the incident with an official authoritative media response, via the traditional and social media. It’s also vital to provide a recognisable spokesperson, who will provide regular updates and reassure the public that the best possible job is being done to save lives. Anna Doble, the Head of Online for Channel 4 News, says the emergency services should embrace this engagement. Anna says, “Social media has created a direct link between the man on the ground, or the woman at the desk and the ambulance service, the police the fire brigade, it’s a new way to show we are all humans, we are all trying to do the best we can, and this is the information we currently have that we can share with you quickly.” Effective messages To be authoritative, calm, and deliver a structured effective message when faced with a sea of cameras and journalists is a skill most people have to learn. Careers can be ruined, reputations of entire services shattered and public confidence lost with poor performance. When I’m training senior staff from the emergency services how to respond to the media, they are often horrified when I mention reputation management during a Major Incident. Dedicated to their professions, they think that reputation is unimportant when lives are being saved. But one does not necessarily have to preclude the other. “The main priority when dealing with a major incident from a media perspective is to ensure the public are suitably informed and provided with all the relevant information to support but not compromise the investigation,” explains Susan Lumsden, Head of Communications for Police Scotland East. “Subsidiary to that, but also very important, is maintaining, protecting and preserving the reputation of the organisation. Behind the scenes, at Gold meetings, the Corporate Communications Managers are highlighting potential reputational issues and advising on how to address them.” More and more police, ambulance and fire and rescue services are becoming aware of just how detrimental poor communication skills can be in a crisis. But media training is often poor, carried out by former journalists who have never worked on national or international news stories, who are out of touch with digital newsrooms. There is no doubt that expert training, leading to truly effective media management can not only influence the outcome of a major incident but also protect the reputation of individuals and entire services at the same time. www.fcmedia.tv

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EST Feb 2014 - PREVIEW  

Preview of the February issue of Emergency Services Times magazine.

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