RAYNET Supporting Jaywick Evacuation

Recent bad weather in the UK created many “risk to life” warning across the UK

In Essex during the early hours of 12 January 2016, Essex RAYNET assisted the local Essex Civil Protection Management Team in evacuating the 2.500 population of Jaywick.

The team set-up a control station, with cross-band repeaters for local and county-wide coverage.

An emergency rest centre was opened at the nearby Tendring Education Centre, with a team also at Frobisher School to support evacuation. Essex RAYNET quickly deployed a team to each location making use of a cross-band repeater for robust communication back to Control at the council offices in Weeley.  

Essex RAYNET was also deployed to the Forward Command Point, which was the central command for the police and fire and rescue teams. A large number of emergency vehicles were gathering at this point for operational briefings, before deployment to Jaywick. In the run-up to the expected tidal surge, most of the effort was contacting the residents (with police knocking on over 2,000 doors, leafleting and media), and preparing to evacuate the most vulnerable to a rest centre.

Essex RAYNET was active through the night, and a small number of residents had already settled in for the night at the primary rest centre. Some of the RAYNET team were able to take shifts in getting a few hours shut-eye on inflatable mattresses ahead of a busy morning.  

16 members of Essex RAYNET were in attendance in a support role, and were deployed as part of Tendring District Council's contingency plans. The team expended a total of 332 man hours over the two days. Mobile phone coverage in parts of the affected area was not great, and had the worst happened, it would likely have been necessary for a significant amount of message handling to be done by the RAYNET team. Numerous important messages were passed by RAYNET during the operation, and operators were able to keep council official and volunteers aware of events taking place at other key locations without tying up landline and mobiles.

RAYNET UK - http://www.raynet-uk.net