BY: James Bell, Joe Cuffaro, Jon Gilmore, Gary Hammersly, Andrew Stuart.
We all remember the disastrous floods of 2007. Tewkesbury in Gloucester was underwater, and those iconic images have stayed in many peoples minds.
And this week, Staffordshire has been preparing itself for a natural disaster that can strike at any time.
Andy Marhsall and Mark Banham talk to reporters James Bell, Joe Cuffaro, and Jon Gilmore
Members of the Fire Service, Police, Ambulance, Primary Care Trust, Environment Agency, Met Office, Council, Health Protection Agency and the Armed Forces were all taking part in a major exercise designed to simulate real flood conditions. It threw problems at the personnel involved and demanded they solved them. Situations such as a coach stuck on a road or two workers missing as they try to save essential infrastructure could all happen.
As we at Staffs Live spoke to them over the three days, it was apparent that they were making difficult decisions based on scarce reliable information, and unknown outcomes. The point of all this is to make sure that if it does happen for real, Staffordshire knows what to do. Even though you cannot accurately predict any situation, they now have a strong understanding of what it could be like.
One of the newer pieces of equipment is provided under the Staffordshire Contingency Plan. A series of vans and tents provide adequate cover and resources to ensure a team of commanders can work out in the field, closer to the scene of the incident in an emergency. This will ensure faster communication to the scene, and a better understanding of the situation. It can be put up in around an hour and a half, and works alongside the main control room.
Brigadier Mark Banham MBE and the Director of Civil Contingencies for Staffordshire Andy Marshall spoke to Staffs Live.
For more information go to www.staffordshireprepared.gov.uk
A youtube video of the 2007 floods in Tewkesbury