A major incident, also known as a disaster, is any emergency that requires any special arrangements by one or all of the emergency services. This includes any known or suspected acts of terrorism. A major incident usually includes large numbers of people, affecting them either directly or indirectly. It is any event or situation that threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment or security.
There are three types of major incidents, this includes natural, and this includes incidents such as storms, fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions. Forest fires are natural incidents and occur when forests are hot and dry and can easily set alight and spread, this is a major incident because they are extremely dangerous and hard to put out. Floods are also major incidents, and are caused by things like too much rain, flood can affect very large amounts of people in large areas, and can leave some people stranded and unable to be aided.
The second type of major incident is hostile acts, these acts can include sabotage, civil war, disorder, riots, siege and terrorism. Riots are a major incident because usually there is a lot of vandalism and looting that takes place, having a large impact on the communities, riots can be caused by many things, but usually when tension is high within a community. Terrorism is also a hostile incident as it can leave large amounts of people wounded or killed, and usually requires all of the services and lots of specialised units. Terrorism usually occurs in places that has a large volume of people.
The final type of major incident is technological incidents, this includes cyber-crime, air, rail or road incidents, radiation, epidemic and pandemics. Major incidents that involve aeroplanes are technology based incidents because they involve many people are usually leave casualties if they occur, they can be caused by a variety of things, but usually system failures. Radiation is a major incident because it means that an entire area will have to be locked down to prevent anybody from entering the area and being harmed, many things can cause these, either system failures or human error.
The Cumbrian Floods that occurred in 2009 is a natural major incident, it involved most of Cumbria and left hundreds of people displaced and left some parts of Cumbria submerged in 8.2ft of water. The cause was heavy rain, which meant that rivers and lakes started to overflow, eventually entering towns. Overall, more than 500 people were directly affected by the floods, and had to spend many nights with relatives and in emergency shelters. One police officer also lost his life when a bridge collapsed due to fast flowing water. Many main roads were also closed or blocked because of the rain.
The Brixton riots are an example of a hostile major incident, the riots were caused by serious social and economic problems, and it is also thought that racism and Operation Swamp, which allowed the police to stop and search anybody they wanted, also pushed the rioters over the edge. On the night of the 10th of April 1981 two police officers were aiding a black man who was bleeding from a suspected stab wound when they were approached by a hostile crowd of youths who tried to intervene. Altogether, over 300 people were injured, 83 premises were damaged and 23 vehicles were destroyed during the riots, totalling around £7.5m.
The London power cuts that occurred in 2003 were a technology based major incident and affected the people of London greatly, the power cut happened during rush hour and the rail and tube network was out of use, meaning the area was extremely busy. Many people down in the tube were stranded in darkness and had to be rescued by services, the fire brigade took 400 calls and say that they rescued around 100 people who were stuck in lifts. It is estimated that the power cut affected around 250,000 people.
The Kings Cross fire that happened in 1987 was a major incident in which 27 people died and required 150 fire fighters to fight the blaze and search for casualties. The fire started in a machine room underneath a wooden elevator, around the time when the rush hour was just trailing off, this left hundreds of people stranded in Kings Cross station. It took fire fighters 2 hours and 20 minutes to put out the fire, and was feared that there would be 40 casualties during the search and rescue.
Cumbrian Flooding 2009:
Brixton Riots 1981:
London Power Cuts 2003:
Kings Cross Fire 1987:
P6: Explain the main considerations when planning and preparing for major incidents.
There are many considerations for major incidents. Major incidents which range from road traffic collisions to terrorist activities. Although there are measures to prevent these incidents, there is always the chance that they will occur. This means that any of the services involved must be ready to deal with them, and already have plans to deal with them. An example plan is the London Major Incident Procedure Plan.
The services involved in the planning must constantly train and improve on these plans. Whether this be training in a simulated incident or in real life incidents. The services involve include the police service, fire and rescue service, paramedics, armed forces, environmental services, red cross, salvation army, mountain rescue and NHS. The Media may also be involved.
When planning, they should also consider incidents which have not yet happened, but may one day happen. This includes things such as earthquakes.
P7: Carry out a tabletop scenario of a major incident.
The tabletop scenario I carried out was the Chesterfield College RTC demonstration, I was at position 1 and was the 1 IC.
M4: Explain the role of the organisations involved in the planning for major incidents.
When planning for incidents, the police, fire and rescue and paramedics must firstly make sure that their teams are trained to do whatever task is required. They must then make sure that they can work effectively with the other organisations involved. They must make sure that they can quickly prioritise tasks to maintain life and to prevent further incidents.
Whenever the services make plans, they must make sure that they must take advice from the various environmental agencies, so that they do minimal environmental damage, whether that is damage to land or the atmosphere.
They must also make sure that they know the quickest routes to the incident, and the quickest routes to the closest most convenient hospital or medical centre. The NHS can advise on which hospitals are best suited to different injuries.
They must also decide where the media will be located during incidents and where in the cordon they should be.
M5: Analyse the tabletop scenario.
There were 7 positions during the RTC, each had to be taken control of by Uniformed Public Service students. Each position had a specific task to fulfil in order for the RTC event to run smoothly and efficiently. During the RTC, I was located at position 1, Brewery Street.
Position 1 involved escorting people to and from Infirmary Road by walking them down the pathway between the two roads. This meant that position 1’s team was split into two with one half at the top of the pathway and the other half of the team at the bottom.
Position 2 was meant to stop anybody from going near the demonstration as it took place, to protect them from getting hurt and to stop them from getting in the way of the demonstration.
Position 3 was the library car park, and was meant to allow delivery vehicles to deliver their goods.
Position 4 was the position that people went to if they needed to have a rest and would swap with another position.
Position 5 was the student car parks, and that meant they had to keep count of parking spaces, and only allow cars through if there was space in the car parks.
Position 6 let vehicles through to Infirmary road if they were delivery vehicles or parking in the car park.
Gold command was located inside of Chesterfield College and would give orders to each position, and also update them on changes to the situation.
D2: Evaluate the tabletop scenario.
Overall I think that the RTC went well, with no major problems arising. Communications were up to a good standard and so everybody knew what was happening.