The Japanese connection: Trevor Tague, Group Manager, Response Support, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, gives an in-depth account of his service's recent close working with colleagues from Japan, particularly in regard to emergency preparation and response.(Risk Management)


THE CIVIL CONTINGENCIES ACT, 2004 set out clear roles and responsibilities for those involved in emergency preparation and response to share information and co-operate at local level to enhance co-ordination and efficiency. Over the last two years Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has applied that principle on an international scale involving the formation of relationships and partnerships with academics, policy makers and practitioners from around the world, and in particular Japan. This article details how those relationships and partnerships have developed and benefited those involved.

Between the fourth and sixth of September 2007, a conference organised by the Disaster and Development Centre (DDC), Northumbria University, the Centre for Forensic Investigation, University of Teesside and the University of Glamorgan was held in Newcastle upon Tyne. The conference explored and highlighted resilience, response, investigation and recovery strategies for dealing with both natural and man-made disasters occurring regionally, nationally and internationally. TWFRS was invited to participate in the conference, not only in the form of providing speakers, but also by hosting part of the event at the new service headquarters in Washington, Tyne and Wear. This was to provide international delegates with a practical overview of the capabilities developed via the New Dimension programme.

Developing Relationship

The attendees included influential disaster management advisors and high-level government officials such as Mozambique's National Director of Disaster Reduction, two government secretaries from Nepal, a number of senior officials from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka as well as representatives from the United Nations. It was expected that the Chief Fire Officer of Kyoto City Fire Department, Japan, would attend together with senior academics from Kyoto University's Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI). Unfortunately their flights arrived too late to participate in what was a very well-received afternoon on September 4. However, due to a relationship that has developed between TWFRS and Japan, in particular Kyoto City and the willingness for it to continue--a special meeting was arranged at TWFRS's headquarters between the Japanese representatives and fire and rescue service senior officers.


For many years, a special commercial relationship has existed between the North East of England and Japan through strong and established business links with well known companies such as Nissan and Komatsu. Over the last few years however, the relationship has grown and developed further into the area of disaster management.

The beginning of this relationship can be traced back to 2005 when the United Nations held a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan. As a consequence, a review of 'Centres of Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction' was begun.

Taking part in the review was the Japan Foundation, which was formed to promote collaboration between Japan and the UK. …

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