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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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SIMEX Series of exercises have taken place annually since 2012. The exercise comprises a mix of live, simulation and 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:

  1. The development of international and national response capacity;
  2. The promotion of coordination of humanitarian assistance, emergency response, research and education;
  3. The evaluation of the disaster management systems presented by the participating organisations



SIMEX Series vision is aligned with the Simulation and Training Network 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

SIMEX Series 2018 Lead Agencies RedR UK, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, L2S2 and the University of Portsmouth will work in close partnership with all key organisations who are engaged in the planning from concept phase in June the year before through to the execution of the event every May ensuring all agreed objectives are met.


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 undergird the humanitarian enterprise consequently; considerations regarding how to operate in accordance with these principles are of great importance for SimEx planning, implementation and integration with academic bodies and other institutions forward thinking applied research.

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


University of Portsmouth

Hampshire Fire and Rescue




Planning for the 2018 SIMEX Series has already commenced, with priority themes being identified from the 2017 exercise evaluation and by participating organisations. The primary scenario is 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).

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Role Players


SIMEX 2018 RRT Hot Meals exc. players

Evaluation & Research

Evaluation of the SIMEX Series is facilitated by L2S2 in coordination with the University of Liverpool and the University of Portsmouth

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.

Core Evaluation Software

L2S2 Xenplate

Xenplate captures a complete real-time, auditable record of SIMEX Series activities using customisable forms on mobile devices. Real-time automated command and control functions for coordination of multiple agencies include automated data analysis and reports and dashboards with management data, messaging and alerts. Xenplate captures text, images, video and voice data and is fully GDPR compliant.

Xenplate has been developed for use in rapid deployments to humanitarian and medical aid requests, works instantly on switch on and synchronises as soon as connectivity is available with locally provided network or cloud. Xenplate is the core system used by UK Emergency Medical Team for Electronic Patient Record management.

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L2S2 Tally

SATIS Tally provides iOS & Android smart people and asset tracking with online & offline user modes. Tally is used as a triage tool providing real-time dashboard and map view and used in command and control by UK Emergency Medical Team. Tally is integrated with L2S2 Xenplate platform to allow for real-time reporting and patient and asset management.

SATIS Tally allows for remote configuration and rapid deployment. The system will be used for role player tracking and management, casualty and volunteer data capture and evaluation data entry and feedback scoring; the system is available for all SIMEX Series participants.

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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: 14th, 15th & 16th May 2019

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