Salvation Army emergency response team supports blue light services at resilience exercise
published on 24 May 2018
Volunteers from The Salvation Army South East Division took the emergency response van to Tunbridge Wells Hospital last week to support emergency services personnel in a mass decontamination exercise. The event was organised by the NHS Emergency Planning Team as part of 'Business Continuity Week' and saw Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance, Hospital and Coastguard Helicopter services test their specialist equipment. Salvation Army volunteers were on hand to offer hot and cold drinks and snacks for the 150 people present.
The event in Kent on Tuesday 15 May saw representatives from all the emergency services plus representatives from the voluntary sector working together to demonstrate kit and discuss emergency plans. Attendees were able to familiarise themselves with equipment which, thankfully, is rarely used but always available should it be required.
Head of local NHS Emergency Planning & Response, John Weeks, said, “Not only did the event allow people to see equipment such as the mass decontamination tent, it also enabled people from different organisations to meet their counterparts and familiarise themselves with the hospital and our emergency plans.
“We were grateful to have The Salvation Army in attendance. They are an integral, but sometimes overlooked, organisation at major incidents. The team certainly help to increase morale and the refreshments provided are greatly received.”
Major Mark Herbert, Salvation Army South East Divisional Commander said, “As a church and charity, The Salvation Army is dedicated to providing compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help to those in need in the community. We see our support of emergency services personnel as a vital part of our work. Our emergency response role is to support those on the front line doing a tough job and who deal with trauma, tragedy and suffering on a daily basis. Thankfully, yesterday’s event was an exercise and there were no casualties involved. It was a privilege for our volunteers to provide the emergency services training today with a cup of tea or a can of pop and a chocolate bar, if needed. It was also good a good opportunity to chat with friends old and new.”
Assistant Chief Constable for Kent Police, Jo Shiner, said, “This was an excellent opportunity to see first-hand how the different agencies work together to ensure the most effective service to the public in the event of a major incident. The principles of JESIP (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles) were writ large throughout, and, more importantly the professional working relationship that exists between key responders was clear to see. Well done to all of those who took part and thank you."