By Jack Holmes
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were assisted by Manchester Metropolitan University during Operation Triton ll on Thursday. The complex scenario was designed to test how local organizations worked together during crisis events, in this case, a dam breakage during a severe downpour resulting in the mass flooding of the local area.
The operation was the largest live exercise the region has ever seen taking place at Dovestone Reservoir, Oldham, Macron Stadium and Burnden Way, to name just a few excersise locations. These were undertaken by a combination of organisations including Greater Manchester Police, paramedics and the fire department, who were joined by 33 other partner agencies including the local council as well as health and utility organizations.
Students from the Multimedia Journalism course and the Student Press Office were invited to attend the operation and field questions to members of United Utilities, GMP and others at a press briefing, as if the mock operation was the real thing.
It was an excellent chance for students to experience a professional press briefing. They built up a clear picture of the events involved through questions on various aspects of the exercise from requesting updates on operations such as search and rescue, to asking what could be done to prevent future incidents of a similar nature. You can read about Multimedia Journalism student, Miles Casey’s experience here.
The event had been running all week and was kept as realistic as possible, with mock weather warnings and regular updates given to emergency services and their partners since Monday.
Thursday, however, was as Greater Manchester Police’s Carl Marsden put it, “the big day”. Military helicopters attended the scene to conduct a search and rescue exercise. “They’re currently running a mock search and rescue at Hollingworth Lake,” Marsden explained.
As the day was brought to a close and the immediate danger of the flood that included stranded trains, missing canoeing students and flooded electrical substations had all been dealt with and attention was turned to the cleanup operation, which will be the next stage in the exercise.