Learning Lessons

It is a vital part of our process to identify and learn lessons from national and local major incidents. This is also extended to the exercises that we run throughout the year.

Post each major incident we facilitate a debrief and record what we could have done better and where things went well. This then results in a set of recommendations that the we track and then build into a processes to improve our working, hopefully learning the lessons for next time.

The Debrief Focus Group is made up of partners and ensures that we keep on top of the recommendations and upholds the standards of our LRF multi-agency debriefing by evaluating the debrief reports as a whole. Improvements to the process are made by this group.

Excerpts from some debriefs over the last few years can be found below.


Additional information


What worked well

  • Regular communication with partners had taken place before the impacts of the severe weather were felt across the LRF area

  • Community spirit was evident and many members of staff across all agencies went above and beyond to respond to the incident.

  • Use of social media to inform members of the public helped to foster a community spirit and demonstrated the efforts responders were going to.

  • The police twitter feed was particularly useful in providing information regarding road closures.

  • Information provided by the Met Office was excellent. Forecasts were timely and accurate enabling all responders to prepare for the arrival of the snow and ice.


  • Explore the feasibility of producing plans for areas of the strategic road network vulnerable to disruption by snow.

  • Prioritise the development of a Stranded Motorist Plan.

  • Review existing Information Sharing protocols to ensure all LRF partners have the confidence to share information with relevant agencies involved in the response.




What worked well:

  • Local meetings and liaison with the public allowed for effective communication in which locations for members of the public to access for support and information where established quickly.

  • Vulnerable people where quickly identified which meant the relevant support was provided effectively.

  • Rescues by Cornwall fire and Rescue crews prevented further causalities.

  • Multi agency coordination was efficient as a clear collective strategy was developed and its aims and objectives where met.



  • Promote community resilience amongst the 213 town and parish Councils in Cornwall to ensure communities are aware of any risks that might impact on them and enable them to plan and prepare to minimise the impact and disruption caused.

  • Ensure all relevant agencies have a clear understanding of how to declare a Major Incident.

  • Ensure resources at the scene request an Airwave interoperability channel as soon as possible during a major incident to facilitate communication between emergency responders.



What worked well:

  • Use of social media allowed a clear overview of the incident, as well as aided communication and warning and informing with the public.

  • County and District local authorities worked well together which allowed early notification of the incident.

  • South West Water proactively monitored water pressure which allowed optimum water pressures at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

  • Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) were efficiently executed which allowed Police, Fire and Local Authorities to efficiently work together.


  • Consider the stand up a reception centre/drop in centre for people and businesses.

  • Ensure bus companies, have a clear plan or framework for communicating with the public in emergencies when transport is disrupted.

  • Examine if the procedures and protocols for the inner and outer cordons is robust to ensure that responders and members of the public are actively identifiable and protected from harm.




The Following recommendations are taken from the Kerslake Report

Key Recommendations for LRF

  • Responders should investigate ways to increase their own personnel’s understandings of their partner agencies’ procedures and operational priorities.

  • Responders should clarify their joint operating procedures in relation to the declaration of multi-agency forward control points, rendezvous points and marshalling arrangements during terrorist incidents and suspected terrorist incidents

  • A revision of  policies and procedures (including action plans) for Bomb, Explosion and Marauding Terrorist Firearms Attack to ensure that greater emphasis is placed on multi-agency co-location, communication and coordination.

  • Lead responders during terrorist incidents should review the technical capability and capacity of communications links between the Duty Officer and other partners’ control rooms and critical response assets.

  • A national review of the possibility of accrediting charities to deliver effective services in the response to an emergency should be undertaken.

  • The Government should increase its support for public first-aid training programmes (including those for children and young people).


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