REACT takes part in UK Emergency Rest Centre exercises

News image

Posted by Laura Butlin 30th October 2023 News

Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins

Amidst escalating flood threats sweeping the UK, REACT is continuing to collaborate with other organisations in the setting up and management of Emergency Rest Centres (ERCs). These proactive exercises ensure that we are as prepared and ready as possible to support people affected by UK emergencies.

The unpredictable nature of flooding often forces families out of their homes on short notice. In such instances, the local council and voluntary organisations set up ERCs, which serve as immediate shelters for evacuees. These centres, commonly set up in leisure facilities, schools, or church halls, offer not just shelter but also food, clothing, medical assistance, and pet care, among other essential services. Such centres hold immense significance, particularly given the stark statistic that 5.2 million properties in the UK face flood risks, impacting over 5 million residents.

To ensure the efficiency of ERCs, regular training exercises are held. These exercises hone the skills of those who will be at the forefront during real evacuations and help identify improvement areas. 

REACT have taken part in a number of these exercises in recent weeks:

Support Hampshire Flood Exercise: Located at Titchfield Community Centre, this exercise emphasised animal welfare, an often-overlooked aspect during emergencies. Our involvement here expanded from just role-playing to assisting Hampshire County Council staff in honing their Volunteer Reception Centre processes.

British Red Cross Abergele Rest Centre Exercise: A comprehensive simulation allowed REACT and other participants to immerse in real-time scenarios. The exercise highlighted the exceptional performance of all, especially the British Red Cross team, who tackled varied challenges with confidence; the day also fostered greater knowledge about REACT and its initiatives with its partners.

Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire Exercise: This event underscored the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing between various agencies, such as the Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire Resilience Team, British Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, and the Environment Agency. Centred on strategic planning and information dissemination for potential emergencies, the gathering laid a strong foundation for future collaborations. Furthermore, there are plans to transition from just planning and theory to conducting a hands-on physical exercise to bolster readiness and response mechanisms further.

As the oncoming winter heightens the risk of flooding, preparedness is our priority. These ERC exercises play a pivotal role in this. Through these drills, we:

  • Understand the nuances of real-time evacuation scenarios.
  • Streamline registration, aid, and support processes for evacuees.
  • Foster inter-agency collaboration, ensuring seamless operations during actual crises.

The dedication of our REACT volunteers, coupled with these proactive measures, solidifies our commitment to stand with and support UK communities when they need us.