Emergency Services put to the test



The skills of 999 rescuers were tested to the limit in September 2014 during a mock major incident in Croxteth, Liverpool – codenamed Joint Endeavour – which included officers and staff from Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and ourselves. 

Driven by the emergency services and the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP), it was the most ambitious joint training initiative ever undertaken.

A catastrophic train crash, explosions and large plumes of smoke marked the start of the exercise, which focused on a train derailment and the devastation it could cause.  The scenario included road traffic collisions, a bus careering into a school and collapsed buildings; leaving people of all ages trapped.

Jessip1The impressive drama, complete with actors, make-up artists, journalists and even the arrival of a chinook helicopter was all staged as part of a major incident exercise, designed to test the joint response of all blue light services, local authorities, armed forces, the NHS and other government agencies.

The exercise was two years in the making and involved over 1,000 people on the day as organisers, players, actors and assessors.  As part of the scenario, the emergency services were faced with 50 ‘fatalities’ and 150 ‘injured’ people.  They worked for nearly 14 hours dealing with a wide range of challenges including rescuing people from the train carriages and vehicles as well as searching the wreckage of buildings.


With the overarching aim of ‘Working Together Saving Lives’, the JESIP programme was created after public inquiries following a number of major incidents, including the London bombings in 2005 and the Derek Bird shootings in Cumbria in 2010, where it was reported that although the emergency services worked well independently, improvements were needed in joint working.

The event was hailed a resounding success, with everyone impressed with the realism of the exercise but also heaving big, tired sigh of relief when it was over.