NEAS was part of a training exercise this month aimed at testing the response of emergency services to a terrorist attack.
The exercise, led by Northumbria Police, was held at the Central Station Metro Station in Newcastle in the early hours of June 6 and saw the emergency services respond to an explosion on the Metro Station platform.
The exercise then continued in a table-top capacity to fully test the ongoing recovery process which would be in place following such an incident.
Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan, from Northumbria Police, said: “It is important that the emergency services and other agencies train together in order to test our collective response to major incidents and offer reassurance to the communities we serve.
“I was pleased with the swift and professional actions of all partners, which shows everyone is committed to ensuring we are fully prepared should the worst happen in our area.
“I would like to stress that this was a pre-planned exercise and there is no particular significance behind the decision to hold it in our region, or indeed to use the Metro and Central Station above any other crowded place.
“The tragic events of recent times have shown us that attacks can occur at any time or place and without warning. Northumbria Police is committed to providing the best possible protection for its communities and these routine, pre-planned exercises are a vital part of reviewing our contingency plans.
“The UK threat level is Severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. In the current climate it is essential to take practical, precautionary measures wherever possible to enhance our security and the effectiveness of the emergency services in dealing with a range of incidents.”
Andy Sessford, from the Resilience Team at North East Ambulance Service, said: “Exercises like this provide a great opportunity to test how we would respond together with our partners.
“This one has provided a safe environment to allow us to gain valuable knowledge and understanding of multi-agency roles while dealing with a realistic, complex incident.
“It is also a fantastic opportunity to use our specialist skills training within the hazardous area response team.”
Alison Slater, Chair of Northumbria Local Resilience Forum Strategic Board and Director of Commissioning for NHS England in North Cumbria and the North East, said: “The tragic events over the last year have been a testament to the commitment and professionalism of NHS staff and other emergency services, and of the extraordinary work they do during major incidents. It is at times like this that the importance of partnership working comes to the fore.
“Exercises like this are not only important to test emergency procedures within individual organisations, but also our ability to work effectively as part of a multi-agency response. I welcome opportunities like this to continually learn and enhance our joint working in order to protect and support our local communities.”