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Nuclear Reactor Exercise

Crown Media were tasked to provide a media simulation team to assist with a multi-agency response exercise based on a notional incident at the Sizewell Nuclear Power Station. We met with the client to get a better understanding of the nature of the exercise and visited the headquarters of Suffolk Constabulary where the exercise would be based.

This was what the military would call a Command Post Exercise, in other words whilst all the key management elements from the various exercising agencies were in place and working there were no physical resources such as fire appliances, ambulance crews etc. actually on the ground.

In an exercise of this kind the prior preparation by the media team is critical, particularly as there is very little to film to support the product we are creating for the simulation. We established our team the day before, tested all our system to ensure we were ready to get underway and awaited the start of the exercise.

Like many resilience exercises, time was limited in this case to approximately 8 hours in total so we had designed our structure to respond quickly but realistically once the events got underway.

We interviewed, took statements, attended press conferences and created TV, radio and print product which we delivered to the exercise through our secure web portal. This was set up in such a way that the exercising media team could push the news and social media feed all the way into the Gold Command room to provide maximum realism during their strategic meetings.

Local Authority Resilience Exercise

A major local authority wished to test its resilience across all of its departments but had a limited time in which to exercise staff in a series of complex challenges. Crown Media was engaged to help extract the very best training effect to support this complex multi-agency exercise.

We produced a short TV news bulletin to launch the exercise which was seen by every member of the training audience. At the same time, we filmed a ‘time-jump’ bulletin which accelerated the timeframe of the exercise and developed new elements to the scenario.

On the day of the exercise, a nine-strong Crown Media team tested councillors, heads of departments and communications staff with live interviews for TV and radio, press stories and extensive social media coverage as the crisis unfolded. All this took place over just four hours. The result: a significant training effect which successfully helped test and validate the council’s people and processes.

Major Incident Exercise

A complex emergency services exercise was designed to replicate a major motorway accident and related pollution incident. This required us to design a team that could work both at the Bronze incident site and at the Gold Command site where the strategic management of the incident was being conducted.

We created a simulation that included a social media environment that matched the complexity of the event and realistically modelled the sort of social media conversations and posts that would take place amongst the public during a major incident.

Our team worked to challenge the management of the media at the site of the incident, behaving in a way that is realistic and appropriate. At the Gold Command, we engaged with the emergency services media team and during statements and press conferences closely questioned the authorities on the incident and the progress in dealing with it.

An important aspect of these exercises is to test the consistency of messaging across the blue light services media officers by attempting to get conflicting responses from different services.

The outcome of all these interactions was turned into news and social media product that was then delivered through our web based news portal.

The unique social media systems we used allowed the contributing agencies to have their own social media accounts, cloned to match their real accounts so that they could practice their social media engagement with the wider publics.

Because of the numbers of people involved from the blue light services, these exercises have to by their nature be limited in the time they take. They frequently last only 6 to 8 hours. That means that the media simulation must be carefully planned and prepared beforehand and then engage with the player audience in a rapid and realistic fashion to get the maximum learning effect possible.