David O’Neill FSTR MICPEM Operational Policy & Assurance l UK-ISAR coordinator London Fire Brigade
As the Head of the London Fire Brigade’s Technical Rescue, International SAR and Overseas Operations capabilities, I am well drilled in responding to sudden onset disasters and capacity building missions for rising tide events.
These challenges have, to date, been met by identified and trained relatively small teams who are well practiced in personal administration, deployment protocol, cultural awareness etc as well as the obvious specific technical skills.
However, how would you or your organisation deal with a request for support to, in effect (given the timeframe) a sudden onset disaster where large numbers of staff without experience, specific skills or cultural (organisational) awareness are required to deploy for an extended period? The outbreak of the Global Coronavirus pandemic presented me with such a challenge and led to the greatest blue light collaboration ever seen between London’s three emergency services with 450 volunteers identified, training and deployed into partner organisations within 3 weeks.
What follows is an outline of how this challenge was met…
(Letter, not peer reviewed)