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Pulp Friction join high rise building exercise

Posted on 10 March 2023

On Thursday 2 March, Officers, Joint Control Room staff, representatives of OD & Inclusion, and members of Pulp Friction took part in an exercise to test high-rise evacuation procedures. The exercise, named Exercise Burrows, forms part of the service’s efforts to embed learning from the Grenfell disaster.

Thursday was the first of six sessions, to test the application of the Evacuation Single Point of Contact (SPOC) role and control room procedures.

The exercise objectives were:

1.       Setting up and implementing evacuation systems (Evacuation SPOC)

2.       Handling of 999 calls from diverse callers, and liaison with the Evacuation SPOC (Fire Control)

3.       Communication between Evacuation SPOC in Fire Control and the incident ground and vice versa

4.       Transition from ‘stay-put’ to ‘full evacuation’.

There were several scenarios for those making 999 calls. These included: a community member with a learning difficulty whose carer has become injured and is struggling to move, the individual needs to communicate with control about the situation, but has limited speech and understanding; and an autistic individual alone in a flat who understands that there is a fire, but who has limited tolerance to heat and is becoming irate from the noise of the alarm. 

The exercise tested the local Pegasus scheme, used across Nottinghamshire by emergency services for individuals who are disabled, vulnerable or impaired, and the national 999BSL system, where a British Sign Language Interpreter will support individuals calling 999. Future sessions will include practise for Joint Control Room call handlers where English isn't the caller's first language.

Learning from each of the six exercises will be captured so that improvements to our procedures can be made.

Area Manager for Response, Andy Macey, said "this was an essential opportunity for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to practise our response to an incident in a high rise building. The added benefit in this series of six exercises is that our control room will become well versed in supporting people with communication difficulties.

"I was so pleased that members of Pulp Friction, who are a beloved part of NFRS' community, could practise calling 999 should they ever need to. Exercises like this one aim to help us better serve our communities in a real emergency."

Angela Warren, from Pulp Friction, said "it was a well organised and welcoming training event. Our members had received an excellent brief in advance and understood what was required of them - and we would like to do it all again! Thank you for including us in your plans."

members of pulp friction sit around a table with an officer two young women look down at a piece of paper on a table