Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exercise watermark week

Flood drills in the UK (from RNLI
In March, about 10,000 people participated in a 4-day realtime flood simulation in the UK called Exercise Watermark. The Cabinet Office Briefing Room (something like the bunker in the basement of the White House) was activated, helicopters were flying, mock-fatalities were strewn about. It was the UK's biggest yet emergency response exercise. It was done on recommendation of the report that reviewed the UK's flood response during 2007. 

You can see the big board from here (source)
At last week's IUGG meeting I had a chance to catch up with Kristy Chandler from Capita Symonds’ Flood Risk and Water Environment team. Her company coordinated the exercise, helping to write the script, manage the simulation command center and so on. We talked about what it's like to be a fly on the wall during a flood response, how people cope with the pressure and what's the best way to survive a flood. 

Today is the first day of a followup conference in London to review how it all went. There's been a few interim reports released. Stay tuned, we'll be discussing the exercise and seeing how the conference is going!

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