Putting public safety on the agenda

All those involved in emergency prevention, response and recovery descended upon Birmingham’s NEC for the Emergency Services Show. Counter Terror Business looks at what the industry gained from the show

September’s Emergency Services Show was the biggest in its 10-year history and provided a fascinating insight to the UK’s fast-evolving emergency services industry. The move to the larger Hall 5 at the NEC enabled the event organisers to offer more free learning and networking opportunities than ever before, with over 80 free seminar sessions, numerous CPD workshops and skills stations, live demonstrations and water rescue displays on the Pendigo Lake directly outside the exhibition hall.

A record number of 6,433 visitors were attracted which included a 45 per cent increase in overseas visitors. Additionally, the event broke new ground with features dedicated to drones and ICT innovation, and a new ‘show within a show’ which showcased the work of the fire and rescue services in the areas of health, well-being and prevention for the first time.

David Brown, event director for The Emergency Services Show, said: “The Emergency Services Show represents the UK’s largest multi-agency gathering, and it continues to grow. This year’s event perfectly captured the spirit of collaboration between the emergency services and the vital role played by new technologies. We were delighted with the way in which our new features and exhibitors were received and are grateful for the support of the many organisations and sponsors who have helped us to ensure the show evolves each year. We are already brimming with ideas of how we can further build on this for next year’s event.”

Home Safety
Supported by the Fire Kills campaign and Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), Home Safety 2016 comprised a free two-day seminar programme and a dedicated exhibition showcasing specialist equipment for the safe home.

As a new event within show, Home Safety 2016 looked at new products on the market and the approaches being taken by emergency services to help people live safely in their homes. For the fire and rescue service, the move from response to prevention is nothing new, but one area of safety in the home that fire and rescue services have looked at is the hazards to older people around slips, trips and falls.

The impact on an older person of a fall in the home can be substantial and puts pressure on ambulance and other health services, which are already experiencing increasing levels of demand. Anything fire and rescue service staff can do to prevent falls happening in the first place is a real benefit.

Fire and rescue services are increasingly working with the NHS through Clinical Commissioning Groups. This partnership working has in part led to the development of the concept of the Safe and Well visit. Much of the work between fire and health is underpinned by data, with one new dataset available to fire and rescue services being Exeter Data. The CFOA and NHS England have an information sharing agreement that means that all fire and rescue services can now identify people over 65 who are registered with a GP.

The Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing recently published a case study setting out Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s ‘Innovative use of the Exeter Health Data’. It looks at how an organisation can deal with a large quantity of data – in the case of Cheshire, this amounted to 206,000 records. Through a process of strategic intelligence analysis, Cheshire was able to create its own categories of risk using four indices: personal risk, geo‑demographic risk, lone person risk and response risk. As a result it was able to hone in on the data and get that large dataset down to lists closer to 20,000.

ICT Innovation Theatre
In the ICT Innovation Theatre, the session on the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) presented by the Home Office, Motorola and EE attracted a great deal of interest. ESMCP is the programme to replace Airwave and provide integrated critical voice and broadband data services for the three emergency services.

Designed to provide a more capable, flexible and cost effective communication system for the emergency services, by the end of 2019, all 300,000 users across the 3ES in Britain are scheduled to have moved over to the new network. Officials from the Home Office, EE, Motorola Solutions and KBR discussed issues such as enrolment, coverage and devices. Simon Frumkin, who leads the Emergency Services Network within EE, addressed what EE will be delivering for the programme and will provide an update on progress made so far, while Richard Hewlett, deputy programme director at the Home Office, discussed an overview of the programme's work and progress so far and an update on the work of the programmes related projects.

The Collaboration Zone
Aimed at developing relationships and partnerships between voluntary organisations and the bluelight services, The Collaboration Zone formed the networking focus of the show. With around 80 companies, government bodies, charities and other organisations exhibiting in this area alone, the Collaboration Zone provided a wealth of opportunities to share and catch up with new developments.

Exhibitors in this zone included: Airport Fire Officers Association; British Arco; British Transport Police; CBRN Centre; Emergency Planning Society; Fire Officers’ Association; Flood Advisory Service; Home Office; Independent Ambulance Association; Mind Blue Light Programme; RSPCA; St John Ambulance; and the UK Government Decontamination Service.

Independent research from mental health charity Mind shows that members of the emergency services are even more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population, but are less likely to seek support. On top of this, 71 per cent of emergency services staff and volunteers, surveyed by Mind, feel that their organisation does not encourage them to talk about mental health.

Evidence shows that changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace can reduce sickness absence, increase staff and volunteer engagement and help keep them well in work. The Blue Light Time to Change pledge is one way that emergency services can work to achieve this and 63 blue light services have signed so far.

Mind’s Blue Light Programme saw discussions on: seven ways to better employee mental health; speaking up about mental health in the emergency services; and managing mental health in the emergency services.

Services in the skies
The Drone Zone proved the area to meet the suppliers of the latest kit. As well as showcasing drone suppliers, the new Drone Zone brought together industry specialists and end-users who will be making presentations on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and sharing their experiences with delegates.

The programme included a presentation on risk management for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and the factors affecting RPAS operational safety in both civil airspace and commercial space. Other sessions covered privacy, security implications and legislation. Elsewhere, water rescue demonstrations took place on the Pendigo Lake, adjacent to the outdoor exhibition area outside Hall 5.

Trauma Care
The College of Paramedics area was expanded this year enabling over 700 people to attend the CPD sessions on the first day alone. Workshops covered: Emergency Childbirth – Breech Birth; Decisions in Trauma Care within the Pre-Hospital Environment; What’s new in Sepsis?; Trauma in Pregnancy; Positive Mental Health; Emergency Childbirth : Antepartum haemorrhage; Decisions in Trauma Care within the Pre-Hospital Environment; and The hidden killer – sepsis in obstetrics.

Elsewhere the new Trauma Care & Education Zone offered further CPD opportunities through four skills stations covering: airway management and ventilation; catastrophic haemorrhage control, explaining how to control a full spectrum of bleeding; splinting and immobilisation, which took place in a simulated car, looking at pelvic stabilisation; and burns, examining a wide variety of dressings and techniques to address a full spectrum of burns. Each skills station provided the opportunity to learn and get hands-on with the latest techniques, products and technology.

Over the two days of the show, teams competed for prizes in the inaugural Trauma Care Skills Challenge. The scenario-based test, which took place in a fully immersive suite featuring world-leading technology with highly realistic, high-fidelity manikins and role models, was streamed live to visitors on screens outside the suite. Physio Control’s own Learning Centre also proved very popular.

The Learning Zone
Successful partnerships between the emergency services and other agencies were showcased within the seminar programmes and on the exhibition stands. In the Learning Zone (curated and inspired by JESIP and the National Operational Guidance Programme) senior figures from the fire, police and ambulance services shared their experiences of co-responding to incidents including the Bosley Mill fire, Christmas 2015 floods and Shoreham air crash.

Meanwhile at the entrance to the show, Excelerate handed over a joint command unit to Northamptonshire Police and Fire and Rescue Service. The new command unit will provide a base for commanders when in attendance at large scale or major incidents. All of Excelerate’s integrated technologies have been designed to facilitate joint working, while enhancing operational efficiency and further supporting resilience for Northamptonshire’s incident response capability. With the Government's drive towards greater collaboration and sharing of resources across the emergency services, this new joint command unit is at the forefront of this transition.

Exhibition
Over 20 per cent of the 460 exhibition stands were taken by new exhibitors, including WASP Rescue. The Warning Alarm for Stability Protection (WASP) was most recently deployed on the high profile bridge collapse on the M20 to monitor the remaining pier to ensure rescue workers were protected during the recovery and clean up phase. Co-founder of WASP Rescue, Matt Keogh said: “This was our first ever show. There were a lot of people there who need this equipment and I could spend six months travelling the country to speak to all the people I have spoken to in the last two days – fire services from all over the UK. It’s money well spent in my opinion.”

Another company making its UK debut was Dechoker. Alan Walton, director of European Operations, said: “The Emergency Services Show was an outstanding success for us at Dechoker Europe Ltd and our distributors, Pro-Trainings Europe and Community Heartbeat Trust. The level of interest in our life-saving Dechoker Anti-Choking Device was phenomenal! We will certainly be present at the 2017 show.”

Exhibiting at the event, Alex Creamer, head of business development at Steroplast Healthcare Ltd, said: “It’s a great gateway to the emergency services sector. You are covering everything from coastguards to the police to the military. There’s a wide range of buyers here including emergency services from abroad.”

Companies exhibiting vehicles and vehicle equipment for the ambulance sector were Baus, O+H, Terberg DTS, Cartwright, Volvo, Allied Fleet, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Ferno. This included the Police Ford Mustang and Police Vauxhall Astra, proving popular with police orders. Vauxhall is one of many companies with a comprehensive special-build department catering for the needs of the emergency services.

Moreover, the undercover police Land Rover Discovery Sport and the undercover police Nissan Navara were popular with exhibitors. Other models present were the BMW 2 Series ambulance, the BMW i3 fire service, Volvo fire engine, the Oshkosh airport fire truck, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog fire truck, the British Red Cross Mercedes-Benz Unimog, and the Land Rover Defender ambulance.

The Emergency Services Show will return to Hall 5 at the NEC from 20 - 21 September 2017. Entry to the exhibition and seminars and parking will continue to be free of charge.

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