'Major incident' training exercise underway at Newhaven Harbour
The emergency services are testing their major incident response skills in a multi-agency training exercise in Newhaven Harbour this afternoon.
Teams from Newhaven RNLI, the ambulance service, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police, Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, the Coastguard, Newhaven Port Authority and the Border Force are involved in the exercise, which runs from 11am to 4pm.
A Newhaven Lifeboat spokesman said the exercise would involve three vessels from the Harbour Authority and three vessels from the RNLI, all of which will be exhibiting flashing blue lights.
Operations will be conducted anywhere between the Breakwater and the Lifeboat Station, including the Rampion Quay which will be used as the primary landing stage, the spokesman said.
The teams will face an emergency scenario with casualties simulated by actors.
There will be live persons made up as casualties on some of the vessels and there will be manikins in the water, explained the spokesman.
There will be intense activity in the area whilst the 'casualties' are rescued and taken to the pontoons.
SECAmb paramedic Luke Hopkins said: “It’s vital we carry out training such as this regularly so our plans are well rehearsed.
"The exercise will take place within the port, except when we initially respond.
"We obviously want the public to be aware of the exercise so that they aren’t concerned.
“While our work crosses over regularly, I know this training is going to prove extremely valuable and I’m looking forward to working with our partners to ensure we are well prepared and ready to respond in the event of any real incidents.”
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Group Manager for Lewes, Brighton and Hove, Nigel Cusack added: “We always welcome the opportunity to carry out exercises with our partners and are especially grateful for Newhaven Port Authority in affording us this excellent venue.
"Large scale exercising in this joined up way ensures that as responding agencies we can test and our response and resilience plans.”