Official simulations in Britain

Its fascinating how many “official” simulations take place here these days. There are so many reports on Google Alerts that Ive stopped covering them all.

The UK is probably behind the US – again, scarcely a day goes past without a Google Alert that some US local authority is simulating a disaster.

Examples in the news recently are:
– the avian flu exercise.
– a government sponsored simulation of major flooding on the Thames. This will be a virtual catastrophe, taking place in March on computers at the Met Office in Exeter and will cost £5.5m. The Houses of Parliament will be flooded.
– a major exercise in the City of London (the financial section of London) involving disaster recovery

In addition:

safety legislation requires local authorities to simulate incidents on industrial hazard sites. This happens so often it is rarely reported. (I play a modest role in these simulations through my day job.) Major companies also hold such exercises in-house.

There are any number of security simulations, including the one famously held at the same time as the real bombings in London.

If simulation doesnt become part of our daily lives through computer games/ Second Life etc., then the UK authorities are doing their best to introduce us to it.

The explosion and fire at the Buncefield oil terminal will be a good test of how well some of this effort actually works. Of course it will take some time for the final report to come out: but there was a lot of criticism at the time of the state of readiness of the emergency services. That seemed rather unfair to me, but well see.

According to the BBC, The people planning the flooding simulation rather smugly say: “We want to avoid what happened in America, where the response to Katrina was a complete disaster…. In the US no one seemed to believe it would actually happen so we want to learn from that. ”

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