Thursday: Response pastors at Exercise Unified Response
It’s the last day of the disaster training exercise and a new scenario is presented to the emergency crews, civic agencies, humanitarian organisations and faith groups.
The Reception Centre received over 100 people in the wake of the staged incident, many seeking to contact friends and relatives.
This is how one response pastor described the day:
I talked to lots of evacuated residents. Some of them were worried about their pets they had at home, their mother who might have taken a train at Waterloo, etc., a girl who did not stop crying for half an hour, epileptics, and a member of the armed forces with severe post-traumatic syndrome. He lost his regiment in a war zone and had only been back in the UK for two days and had had no support. He said he was suicidal. We had to get him to A&E for a mental health assessment.
Response pastors worked closely with volunteers from the Salvation Army and the British Red Cross, as well as the centre manager and evaluators. There was strong teamwork on all sides and response pastors were affirmed and thanked by the centre staff.
More feedback was received from staff from Kingston Council who were also working in the Rest Centre today. They said, how helpful it was to be able to place individuals with difficult or complex needs in the hands of the response pastors.