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City Stages Emergency Exercise

The largest emergency planning exercise to take place in Birmingham this year is being led by the city council on Sunday (October 30).

Birmingham Shield is the latest in a series of exercises organised by the Birmingham Resilience Team, and will assess how prepared the city would be in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident.

Police, firefighters, ambulance, hospital and other emergency personnel from across the region will be involved, alongside 100 volunteers playing the part of injured and uninjured survivors. Those involved are not being taken away from their normal duties for the exercise.

Some will be put through a decontamination procedure and taken to hospitals or survivor centres – just as they would should a real emergency occur.

The exercise is not in response to any specific threat, but is part of an ongoing programme of exercises to ensure Birmingham is thoroughly prepared for a range of major emergencies and disasters, should the worst case scenario ever unfold.

Planning for the event began at the turn of the year, and will see a small number of road restrictions in the Broad Street area, to ensure the safety of volunteers and to accommodate the vehicles and equipment needed to respond to the incident.

The roads affected during the exercise will have restricted access between 8am and 1.30pm. Access to all frontages will be maintained. Those roads within the restricted area are:

•    Broad Street: traffic both ways between Paradise Circus and Gas Street.
•    Bridge Street: from the Hyatt Hotel entrance to the junction with Broad Street.
•    Pedestrians will be required to use the footway nearest the ICC between Paradise Circus and Gas Street, unless access to frontages is required.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Anyone in the city centre on Sunday may see large numbers of emergency service vehicles – but I want to reassure them that they need not be alarmed.

“We are always looking at how we can refine our processes and procedures to ensure the city is best prepared for any emergency, and everyone involved with this exercise is keen to get stuck in and put their skills to the test.

“I’m sure those participating will show everyone in Birmingham and beyond that we are as ready as we can be for such emergencies.”

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