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Port Emergency Exercise
Newhaven Port organised an emergency exercise on Wednesday 20th April 2011 to test the capability of the Port and the Emergency services to respond to a serious incident. The exercise was codenamed "Blondie" and simulated a large leakage of Hydrogen Peroxide from a trailer within the resticted area of the Ferry Terminal. The substance is toxic, corrosive and has explosive potential. To also test the Port's Security Plan, the leakage was classed as possibly malicious. The initial Port response resulted in 5 casualties at the scene. Two were classified as being unconcious and three were walking wounded.
The exercise involved input from a large number of organisations, namely NPP, LCT Support Services, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, SE Coast Ambulance Service Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), Sussex Police, Counter Terrorism & Intelligence Unit, Environment Agency, Lewes District Council, East Sussex County Council, Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the RNLI.
Whilst the emergency services were dealing with the incident, it was simulated that a toxic cloud was spreading towards North Quay and the river. The port was shut down and all port users were advised to stay off the river and stay indoors. Sussex Police simulated the closing of the A259. The Port's Security level was raised incase of possible malicious involvement and this affected all berths and terminals within the port, including North Quay.
The 3 hour live exercise ended with an exchange of information between all the services involved and a demonstration of the equipment used. A debrief was then held at the Ferry Terminal Building over lunch kindly sponsored by NPP and LCT.
This multi-agency exercise was extremely beneficial to all parties and was considered a huge success. The ability to be able to handle incidents such as this can only be tested through training and exercise so if the port was ever faced with such a scenerio, all will be better equiped to deal with it. Our thanks go to all those who worked so hard to make the exercise such a success.