Emergency Services Show 2017

Emergency Services Show 2017, NEC, Birmingham 21 September 2017

This show filled a large hall at the NEC with nearly 500 exhibitors and several small lecture theatres providing short presentations.

The highlights of my day there included two talks and some interesting developments that are described below.

Luana Avagliano and Ben Platt gave a presentation on Resilience Direct. I was interested that her advice was to think of the most extreme outcome and prepare for that. This is increasingly a theme in government emergency planning/resilience which is replacing the concept of planning in detail for the worst reasonably foreseeable event (itself pretty bad and of low probability) and in less detail for the extreme events (extendibility). The loss of this “proportionality” makes emergency planning much more expensive.

Her other theme was the importance of recovery. It is true that we used to plan in detail for initiating an emergency response (when to call people, who to call, what to tell them, where to collect them together, and their roles and responsibilities including initial actions). The idea being that once they were up and running they’d manage the initial issues and then move into recovery when the time was right. As time went on the “recovery” bit became a bit more visible and was tested to an extent. However, recent events have shown that the media, and then the public, are unmerciful towards any perceived failure to make the victims comfortable in the hours, days and weeks following an event and that a swift return to the old normality is considered a minimum expectation. It is right to give this area attention. Community resilience is about getting back to normality as quickly and as painlessly as practical no matter what the shock.

Ben spoke about the new lessons learned processes being added to the Resilience Direct platform. They appear to be well thought out and comprehensive.

Paul Channing from Hampshire Fire and Rescue give a talk on their “safe and sound” programme. This is on online application that asked a few questions (it was designed to take no more than a few minutes) and then based on the answers provides a personalised safety brief. For example if you answer that there are no smokers in the household it doesn’t give the advice on fire safety with regard to smoking. If you have people over 65 in the household it asks more questions and, where appropriate, points to the “safe and well” project that provides advice and practical help to this age range.

This appears to be a well-managed project with a clear focus, targeting the key domestic fire risks, linking to related projects, using focus groups to help with the design, collecting data for feedback and presenting easy to understand customised advice to the user.

The idea of using a short questionnaire in this context; where do you live? What age ranges live there? Risk factors etc. before giving customised advice is obvious once you’ve heard it but clever.


I was impressed by Horizonscan which is a company that offers business continuity training but also offers “Crisis boardroom”, a crisis pack consisting of a large suitcase which, in turn, contains a number of other bags each of which contain laminated Command and Control Boards, individual tabards and name tags, stationary and role aide-memoirs. It appears to provide a complete crisis management tool kit in one bag. The tools themselves seemed to be well thought out, designed and produced.

This would be a good place to start for any Company seeking to introduce business continuity to their board as the tool kit provided looks the part.

I’ve mentioned 999-eye from PageOne before. I think that it is a product that would be useful in the nuclear industry.

I liked the orvecare thermal emergency blanket so much that I bought two, one for my car and one for my wife’s car. It takes up less room than the sleeping bag I used to carry in the boot in winter and can stay there all year. It might one day prove useful.

The AlfaDrop Box does look like a possible candidate for a rapidly deployable “space”. It could be a control room, a shelter, a store, or a change facility – whatever. With the vehicle at about £39k and the boxes from £7k upward you could have one vehicle and many boxes which could be deployed quite quickly. Thunderbirds are go! (See video).

Finally a quick message to the organisers. We all now know that LEDs can make bright lights in a range of colours and can flash. We also know that human ingenuity can think of lots of ways of using them. The exhibition room was full of the damn things making it a quite uncomfortable working environment. Maybe in future limit “lights on” for five minutes every hour?

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