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The Simex Series

The Simex Series is the UK’s largest annual international disaster response exercise. It is an operational (live controlled) field exercise designed to establish a learning environment for players to exercise disaster event response plans, policies and procedures. Player participation comprises of; activate, mobilise, respond operationally on scene, report (internally and externally), implement short and medium-term plans, hand-over, demobilise and complete after-action reviews.

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The Simex Series exercises have taken place annually since 2012. The exercise comprises of a mix of live and simulation, operational, command and control events in order to provide a neutral platform to test both national and international emergency response mechanisms.

The overall aims of the exercise comprise of:

  • The development: of international and national response capacity.
  • The promotion: of coordination of humanitarian assistance, emergency response, research and education.
  • The evaluation: of the disaster management systems presented by the participating organisations.
  • The promotion: of effective collaboration, communication and interoperability between emergency response organisations.
  • To provide: a platform for the evaluation and development of emerging technologies. 



The Simex Series vision is aligned with the United Nations Simulation and Training Network (STN) to improve the efficiency of emergency preparedness and response through high quality training standards, coordination of local, national and international response teams and the utilisation of recognised simulation platforms to consistently evaluate, reinforce and improve operational guidance in coordination with key stakeholders.

Exercise Leads

The Simex Series Exercise lead agencies are Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, The University of Portsmouth and The University of Liverpool. They work in close partnership with participating organisations for exercise planning from initial concept through development to delivery of the event every May, ensuring all agreed objectives are met. 


The Simex Series activities are guided by the four humanitarian principles: Humanity, Neutrality, Impartiality and Independence. 

These principles provide the foundations for humanitarian action internationally and are central to establishing and maintaining access to affected people, whether in a natural disaster or a complex emergency such as armed conflict. 

Humanitarian Principles underpin the humanitarian enterprise, consequently considerations regarding how to operate in accordance with these principles are of great importance for The Simex Series planning, implimentation and integration with academic bodies and other institutions. 

Nationally in the UK principles for emergnecy response and recovery arrangements should be flexible and tailored to reflect circumstances, following a common set of 8 underpinning prinviples: Anticipation, Preparedness, Subsidiarity, Direction, Information, Integration, Co-operation and Continuity. 


University of Portsmouth

Hampshire Fire and Rescue

University of Liverpool



Planning for the next Simex Series exercise has already commenced, with priority themes being identified from the previous years exercise evaluation and by participating organisations.

The primary scenario has been over recent years a slow moving, high pressure weather system that brings heavy winds, rains and storm surge resulting in coastal and inland flooding with associated infrastructure damage. National and International inter-agency tools, processes and communication will be tested through a series of ‘modules’, (tasks and activities carried out within the simulation scenario in line with all objectives).

That may be about to change...

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Role Players


SIMEX 2018 RRT Hot Meals exc. players

Evaluation & Research

Evaluation of the  The Simex Series is facilitated by the University of Liverpool and the University of Portsmouth in collaboration with partner agencies and assessors. 

SME Observations

Drawing on a selected roster of national and international subject matter experts (SMEs), we will deploy various teams of observers and evaluators throughout the live exercise. Using a tailored observation framework - combining existing templates with established research practice - evaluators across the sites will be able to draw on their specialist expertise and capture observations relating to specific interactions. This will allow us to highlight good practice, identify areas for development and showcase key performance examples across various command levels and all agencies involved.

Public Management

Throughout various stages and areas of the incident scenario volunteers will play the role of casualties, victims and members of the public. Drawing on their first-hand experience of the deployment, interaction and performance of responders from across the emergency services and specialist agencies, we will capture a broad range of perceptions and experiences during the exercise. This will allow us to provide a more comprehensive and dynamic evaluation, going beyond traditional performance indicators, by adding a rich reflection of individuals’ experience and interaction with the responders.

Training & Learning

As the exercise is intended to provide a training and development platform for responders and agencies, it is essential to ensure that the design, delivery and engagement throughout the scenario are conducive to this. Working closely with all the agencies involved, the goal is to better understand how these simulated environments push responders’ competencies and abilities, developing confidence and accelerating expertise. This process should not be limited to those agencies deployed, also providing benefits to participating volunteers and members of the public, as well as observers and partners agencies, building relationships and driving engagement, resulting in more confident and resilient communities.


our sponsors 

MTH Networks: Provides The Simex Series with free access to its data and mobile networks enabling our comminication systems, and exercise control equipment to function seemlessly. 

Monkey Tree Hosting: Provides The Simex Series with free access to its cloud based IT solutions including Hosted Desktop, Web services, Licencing and Custom System Architecture.

The team also volunteer time to be our "Technical Experts" working with us to develop technical solutions to lessons learned from our exercise scenarios.  

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key Supporters 

Broadnet Nationwide Communications The team at Broadnet provides The Simex Series with a number of solutions which enables our Exercise Control to function effectively. 

Broadnet supplies communications equipment, and controllers through its UK Emergency Network enabling The Simex Series to be able to maintain a manned and monitored exercise control radio channel. This adds a layer of safety and utility to exercise staff on the ground. 

We also run a backup communications network through Broadnet's "Critical Services Network" ensuring our communications never go down. 

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SIMEX Opportunities for Individuals


For further information see

Effective Humanitarian Response

(Training and SIMEX)

Six-day course by RedR is split into two parts to provide an immersive learning experience for both experienced humanitarians and those new to the sector.

What does the course cover?

  • Needs assessment in emergencies
  • Communicating with affected populations
  • Negotiating humanitarian access
  • Inter-agency coordination
  • Accountability to affected populations
  • Personal safety and security

Crisis and Disaster Management MSc

The course is a mixture of taught units and a research project, covering: hazard, vulnerability and risk assessments; disaster risk reduction; emergency planning; crisis management; logistics and financial planning; business continuity; community resilience; humanitarian emergency response, and disaster management techniques, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

SIMEX: 12th, 13th & 14th May 2020

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