The UK’s most technologically advanced emergency service training site, the National Resilience Centre of Excellence, was officially opened on Thursday, 19 July 2024 by Home Office Minister, the Rt Hon Dame Diana Johnson DBE MP. Located in Aintree, Liverpool, the state-of-the-art facility forms a key part of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s new Training and Development Academy. 

The Centre will act as a hub for coordinating national fire and rescue service responses to large-scale emergencies. It aims to equip firefighters with the necessary training and skills to tackle incidents of any magnitude across the country. 

At the opening ceremony, guests including Home Office Minister Dame Diana Johnson, Mark Hardingham NFCC Chair, Government partners, Chief Fire Officers, and fire service leaders from across the UK were presented with simulated emergency scenarios. These demonstrations featured catastrophic building collapses, marauding terrorist attacks, mass decontamination processes, and significant fires in multi-storey buildings. 

The Centre includes an array of immersive and realistic training environments, such as a six-storey high-rise building, a row of terraced houses, a motorway setting, specialist vehicle garages, and a High-Volume Pump training area. It also includes a rubble pile for search and rescue exercises and a suite of practical training classrooms. A purpose-built command and control suite enhances the training capabilities, allowing the simulation of incidents ranging from small-scale emergencies to major multi-agency events. 

The opening of the National Resilience Centre of Excellence represents a significant step forward in enhancing the UK’s emergency response capabilities. 

Since 2016, Merseyside FRS has acted as the lead authority on National Resilience on behalf of the Home Office, responsible for the mobilisation, coordination and monitoring of NR assets in response to significant, serious or catastrophic incidents. National Resilience capabilities are also spread across the UK in accordance with the National Security Risk Assessment.