A realistic scenario of a potential crisis incident was re-enacted at the Port in Poole, hosted by Poole Harbour Commissioners in conjunction with Condor Ferries, Borough of Poole, and all the emergency services.

The exercise was a first for Poole where three emergency situations were tested in succession: evacuation of a ferry, full decontamination, and survivors’ reception centre.

36 actors representing the passengers on board a Condor Ferries vessel were sourced by the Casualties Union, a voluntary organisation which works with the emergency services. Two dogs also played their roles, including one assistance dog. More than 160 people were involved in the scenario overall from Poole Harbour Commissioners staff to representatives from the local authority, Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue, and South West Ambulance Service.

Dave Laut, Poole Harbour Commissioners’ safety and security manager, said: “This exercise has been an important test of how well all these relevant organisations can come together and handle a potential crisis in Poole Harbour. We have all learnt a significant amount. The Casualties Union provided us with a true perspective of the potential fears experienced by passengers and were prepared to go to any length to follow the process, even undergoing full decontamination in the ‘pop up’ showers, including the dogs! We are extremely pleased with the results of the exercise; our collective goal is to maximise safety and to ensure the most efficient response to any potential incident in Poole Harbour.”