The Emergency Planning Society 2016 conference takes place on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 June – at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff.

This follows the success of the 2015 event, where for the first time in several years, the event made a financial surplus. Held at the Emergency Planning College in Yorkshire on 30 September, it attracted up to 100 delegates from EPS branches in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and EPS members working overseas.

Ian Whitehouse, Deputy Director for Resilience Capabilities at the Cabinet Office’s Civil Contingencies Secretariat, outlined the challenges facing the sector adding that professionals and government needed to work together to identify where there could be gaps in the emergency response, due to the pressures of spending reviews.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Armitt QPM outlined the pressures of organising a massive international event; he was Gold Commander for the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales. With the emphasis on the protection of all the international dignitaries attending, he explained that this involved 167 separate armed operations – “like air traffic control with guns!”

International topics included a presentation by Jerry Smith OBE, who worked for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons programme in Syria. He pointed out that other such programmes who had worked on elsewhere in the world had taken up to eight years to complete – in Syria they had just 30 days!

Meanwhile firefighter Sean Moore, National Co-ordinator for the UK’s International Search and Rescue teams, outlined the problems they faced in responding to the massive earthquake in Nepal. He stressed the importance of the international response to huge disasters, adding: “There are 20 mega cities in the world where no single country would have the capacity to respond to disaster on their own.”

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