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2003-12-15 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Lessons learned from London's emergency exercise on Tube


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Department for Transport



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Department for Transport

Lessons learned from London's emergency exercise on Tube
_______________________________________________________________


date
15 Dec 2003 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



The emergency exercise at Bank Underground Station carried out on 7 September confirmed that a great deal of work has been done to improve London's capability to respond to major emergencies but identified further areas for action.

The exercise was designed to enable London's frontline services, fire, police and ambulance, to practise their response to a chemical attack on the Tube.

Key lessons from the exercise were published today by Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Transport.

Mr Darling said,

"This was an extremely valuable exercise, which allowed us to test the capability and constraints of our emergency services under difficult circumstances. Exercises such as this are also an opportunity to learn and we have identified areas that need further development.

"While some of the conclusions need to remain confidential for reasons of security we are today fulfilling our commitment to make public the key findings that the emergency services and others have identified." The exercise found that:

- a great deal of work has already been done by Government, Emergency Services and the Mayor of London to improve London's capability to respond to emergencies through improved equipment and planning;

- there needs to be contingency planning, preparation and funding for responding to large scale emergencies and that this work continues to be given high priority;

- work needs to continue to look at and prepare for alternative rescue plans for difficult environments like the London
Underground;

- work needs to continue to improve the ability of those wearing protective suits to be able to communicate under difficult conditions;

- ambulance crews need to be able to provide earlier assessment, care and delivery of specific antidotes to contaminated casualties; and,

- we must not underestimate the number of people and specialist equipment required to respond to such emergencies.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said:
"Tackling terrorism is given the highest priority by the Government and our programme of exercises is part of a continuous cycle of planning, training, reviewing, revision and more planning to improve our preparedness.

"Testing our ability to respond to an incident is an important part of our counter-terrorism strategy. Since the atrocities of September 11 2001, we have put in place a range of measures to combat the threat posed by terrorism. This includes toughening up our already tough counter- terrorism legislation, tightening port, airport and border security, increasing funding and giving the police more powers to support their work in the fight against international terrorism."

The Government, the Mayor of London and London's emergency services will continue to work together, through the London Resilience Forum, to ensure these lessons are learnt to improve the capital's preparedness, now and for years to come.

Notes to Editors

1. The exercise held at Bank Underground station on 7 September was designed to test specific elements of the emergency services' response to a chemical attack on the Tube.

2. The exercise was organised by the London Resilience Forum, the pan- London emergency planning body chaired by London Resilience Minister, Nick Raynsford with Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London as deputy chair.

3. It was one of an extensive programme of exercises that continues to be held to test and help improve our resilience to a major terrorist attack. Further exercises are planned over the next two years, including a joint UK:US exercise planned for 2005.

4. Information about the work of London Resilience is available on its website at www.londonprepared.gov.uk

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk



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