Butser rock chalk used in world’s largest disaster simulation

TJ Transport supplied around 100 tonnes of rock chalk in the form of gabion chalk baskets for the world’s largest disaster simulation exercise, which took place in Hampshire last month.

More than 2,000 people and 40 local, national and international emergency response organisations took part in the annual SIMEX event, which is run by the University of Portsmouth, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the University of Liverpool.

The event, which started in 2012, comprised a mix of live, simulation and command and control events to test both national and international emergency response. It is also designed to provide a learning environment for participants to test disaster event response plans, policies and procedures.

This year’s disaster simulation was based around a major storm/hurricane that brought heavy winds and rains, resulting in severe flooding, mudslides, environmental pollution, collapsed buildings and displacement of people.

The realistic training exercise featured crumpled cars, damaged buildings and numerous casualties with varying degrees of injuries at several different locations.

TJ’s chalk baskets, which are wire baskets filled with TJ’s Butser rock chalk from Butser Quarry were used to build a makeshift wall during the simulation event. The baskets are most typically used for decorative and structural retaining walls and coastal defence.

Rock chalk is ideal for this type of use due to its appearance, unique weathering properties and strength.. Butser rock chalk is a very hard chalk, akin to limestone, and is often used as a sub base layer in construction and highway projects.

The exercise took place across eight sites across Hampshire including Eastleigh Fire Station, Fort Widley, Fort Purbrook, Wymering Manor, St Andrew’s Court at the University of Portsmouth, Andrew Simpson Sailing and forts near north Portsea.

The event is directed by Phil Crook from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. He said: “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is among the best services in the country and our crews are regularly called upon to help in the aftermath of international disasters. Exercises like this are vital in developing and maintaining skills and getting valuable experience working alongside partners. These scenarios create a sense of realism you just can’t get on the drill yard or classroom and enable us to save more lives when disasters strike.”

Find out more about TJ’s rock chalk and the other aggregates we offer.

You can also read our blog about Butser Quarry to find out more about where our rock chalk comes from!

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Luke Haskell
10 June 2019