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Being prepared: Mock blaze scenario will practice multi-agency emergency response

Wednesday, 05 June 2013

Emergency responders will leap into action to test their contingency plans in a mock emergency near Romsey on Tuesday 11 June.

The exercise will test plans already in place to bring together responding agencies to efficiently and effectively manage a major incident at the Ashfield tyre site.

The multi-agency exercise involves Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire County Council, Test Valley Borough Council and the Environment Agency.

The real-time response of the agencies in the event of a fire occurring will be fully exercised. This includes monitoring the impact of road closures needed to ensure the safety of emergency services working at the scene, testing special procedures such as communications and trialling equipment.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is also planning to use a specialist piece of equipment known as a high volume pumping unit.

One of the key objectives in preparing and practising the emergency response plan is to assure the ready supply of fire fighting water to the site.

In order to make the conditions as realistic as possible, including the laying of a kilometre of large hose lines, some road closures are necessary on the night of the exercise. These will take place between 6pm and 10pm; the time needed to test the response fully.

The A3057 Romsey Road will be closed between the junctions of the M271 and the A27. Additional road closures will also be in place on Coldharbour Lane, Hoe Lane, Toothill Road, Lee Drove, and Lee Lane for the same period. There will be a signed main diversion route via the A27 Luzborough Lane and A27 Botley Road, Rownhams Lane, Bakers Drove, and A3057 Romsey Road and in the other direction.

However, residents with properties affected by the road closures will still be allowed to access and leave their homes. Signed diversion routes will be in place throughout the exercise and warning signs will go up about a week before.

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "I have always had concerns about this site and although we are informed that the chances of a major incident happening are remote, it's important that all the agencies are properly prepared with a robust emergency response plan that will make sure risks are minimised. That's why it's vital to ensure that these plans already in place are fully tested."

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