As recent tragedies in Brussels, Lahore and Paris have demonstrated, terrorism is a real and serious threat that governments and companies alike need to prepare for. And as well as the operational angles, providing reassurance, situational awareness and intelligence gathering through social media are new challenges that emergency responders need to grapple with.
For Exercise Strong Tower - the largest counter-terrorism exercise ever conducted - we worked with the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police Service and a host of other emergency agencies to help test the operational and communications response to a series of high-impact terrorist attacks across London.
We helped participating government departments and agencies to rehearse their response to handling social media in a crisis using our Social Simulator platform.
We created mock media stories, tweets, Facebook-style queries and live action video content with which we tested participating agencies over a two day period.
Our role-players started rumours, fed in eye witness reports and put in phone calls as a range of characters within the scenario. Mobile participants fed in eyewitness-style footage, from inside and around the exercise venues.
It's a format and platform we've deployed across hundreds of other exercises worldwide from Vancouver to Canberra for clients as diverse as the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Change.org and GlaxoSmithKline and in sectors from extractives to retail. We debrief the teams afterwards, reviewing their approach in terms of strategy, process, tone and messaging and providing actionable, useful recommendations on how to improve their preparedness.
Images: Telegraph, Evening Standard