Preparing for Winter: Environment Agency awards Exercise Occam’s Razor to JBA

With the flood events of winter 2015 still fresh in everyone’s minds, we are supporting the Environment Agency (EA) to implement Exercise Occam’s Razor.

Exercise Occam’s Razor will test operational communication between flood forecasting and flood warning duty officers during a moderately sized river flood event. It is an emergency response exercise for the EA’s Yorkshire Area Flood and Coastal Risk Management teams.

Sara Lane, Senior Analyst for JBA and project manager for Exercise Occam’s Razor, commented “the aim of the exercise is to simulate the real river flood event of 2015’s Storm Desmond, and to use this training opportunity to increase the EA’s duty officers’ confidence in their role and responsibilities for any similar future eventuality”.

The Environment Agency’s project manager, Alan Smith, remarked “Exercise Occam’s Razor forms part of the EA’s preparation to be winter ready, and to provide a valuable training opportunity for our response staff.”

An unusual name

The name for the exercise is based on the problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham, where amongst competing hypotheses the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. The name of the exercise reflects the importance and purpose of the exercise; for duty officers to use as many facts as possible to make accurate decisions and not rely on assumptions.

With this in mind JBA’s Exercise Management System (JEMS) will be used to deliver the exercise. JEMS has been specifically designed to mimic the telemetry systems used by the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and so it is ideal for use in this exercise to mimic the EA Yorkshire’s telemetry system.

The JBA project team delivering Exercise Occam’s Razor consists of staff across several offices including Newport, Exeter, Coleshill and Newcastle. It further links with JBA’s Emergency Planning and Exercising service whereby emergency flood response plans are implemented to train, exercise and evaluate staff to maintain competencies, retain Flood Incident Management knowledge and to increase staff confidence.

Want to find out more?

Further information on Emergency Planning or JEMS can be seen on our website or you can contact Phil Emonson, our Lead for Flood Resilience.

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