Preparing for extreme weather through the delivery of Incident Management Training and Exercising
Written by Phil Emonson | Emergency Planning Lead

As the impacts of climate change continue to be felt around the world, preparation for extreme weather through Incident Management Training and Exercising (IMTE) has become key to increasing resilience. As sole supplier to the Environment Agency for these services, our IMTE team are delivering tailored exercises to enhance drought response in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

How are we using Incident Management Training and Exercising to increase resilience?

The Environment Agency has highlighted how parts of the Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire (LNA) Area are amongst the driest parts of England and during summer there is a need to balance available water resources and the demand for water due to large spray irrigation abstraction needs, which can often coincide with low flows and high temperatures. The LNA area experienced a period of Prolonged Dry Weather (PDW) in summer 2018 until October 2019. Throughout 2022, an extended period of low rainfall again resulted in the area being declared in PDW in July, and subsequently to drought status in August. As a result, the LNA drought team identified the need for an exercise, to rehearse and test a response to a severe drought, should dry weather escalate into the summer of 2023. To increase the preparedness and confidence of duty teams to another drought in 2023, the JBA4Resilience consortium were contracted by the Environment Agency (via our position as sole supplier for incident management training and exercising) to design and deliver a table-top exercise for duty officers involved in drought response in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

Why is Incident Management Training and Exercising needed?

Summer 2022 brought widespread drought to Europe with record-breaking temperatures and resulted in eight areas across England being declared as in drought. February 2023 has been the driest since 1993, and whilst low rainfall is forecast for spring, reservoirs remain low and river flows across England are lower than normal. These conditions create a risk for many areas returning to drought in 2023.

The Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England promotes a catchment-led approach to improve resilience to both flooding and drought. This strategy addresses the growing need for responding agencies to train and exercise extreme-weather related plans to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. Water companies also have a statutory duty to prepare, consult and maintain a drought plan to monitor and minimise adverse effects of drought. Therefore, their responsibility involves the need to consider future risks, increase preparedness and test the readiness of their staff to implement plans and procedures.

What is Incident Management Training and Exercising?

These tailored exercises allow emergency response plans to be tested by those responsible for delivering them. Together with plans being kept up to date, it is crucial that personnel who are involved are aware of how to use them to ensure an effective response.

Exercises can be designed to test full plans or a specific area in which an organisation identifies a need to improve their capabilities, for example communications or processes. Following an exercise, the lessons learnt can be addressed and implemented within the plan. Being involved in an exercise also increases staff confidence. If staff are confident of the procedures, the real-life incidents will run more efficiently and effectively.

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Want to know more?

For more information about our Incident Management Training and Exercising services please contact Emergency Planning Lead, Phil Emonson.

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