Organised by the Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, ‘Exercise Pike’ was intended to test the procedures and teamwork of emergency services, local government and other relevant organisations in the aftermath of a fatal boating accident on the Thames, near the Trout pub at Godstow.
Unlike many previous disaster-response exercises in which the University has been involved, this one was live action rather than paper-based, with those involved moving around the area and even actors in the river to simulate victims.
The exercise stringently tested both the Security Services team’s immediate response procedures on being notified of the accident and the University’s wider emergency response protocols set out in the Crisis Management Framework, and both worked well.
The former included helping identify the students involved and providing emergency contact details, while the latter confirmed that the incident could have been successfully escalated to Silver Team level if it had been real. The lessons learned during the exercise were analysed in a full debriefing afterwards, so that processes can be improved ahead of any real emergencies that arise in future.