Tower of London to host emergency services training exercise

Tower of London to host emergency services training exercise

The White Tower

Historic Royal Palaces to host a major multi-agency training exercise at the Tower of London today (Tuesday 19 January)

19 January 2016

Over 70 firefighters and officers, eight fire engines, two fire rescue units and three Command Units will today be participating in Exercise Tower Guardian, a major multi-agency training exercise led by the London Fire Brigade, the focus of which will be a fire-based scenario at the Tower of London.

Taking place today (19 January 2016) the exercise will allow Historic Royal Palaces and the London Fire Brigade to test procedures developed by the Brigade’s Fire Safety Heritage team for damage control and the salvage of priceless artefacts and collections. Exercise Tower Guardian is also an important chance to test the response of Historic Royal Palaces’ staff to an emergency, while increasing firefighters’ knowledge of the historic Tower of London site. Other key stakeholders involved in Tuesday’s exercise include the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service and emergency planning officers from Tower Hamlet’s Council.

Michael Day, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces, commented: “Whilst we have a range of fire safety and prevention measures in place, it is vital that we are fully prepared to respond, should an incident take place. Training exercises like this represent a valuable opportunity to practice our evacuation and salvage procedures, working with the emergency services.”

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Like all modern fire and rescue services we train regularly to prepare for a wide range of emergencies but this exercise provides us with a unique opportunity to train with our partners at one of the capital’s most famous landmarks.

“London is home to an outstanding historic and architectural heritage so it is vital that the Brigade, our emergency service partners and staff in the buildings themselves, have robust plans in place to protect that heritage if the worst happens.”

Exercise Tower Guardian is part of a programme of multi-agency exercises required by law and is part of the Tower of London’s contingency planning arrangements. Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for caring for the Tower of London, has salvage teams based at its sites across London who regularly train for this type of scenario, with the team based at Hampton Court Palace recently assisting with the devastating fire at nearby National Trust property, Clandon Park.

Press contacts:

  • For information about the Tower of London, contact the Historic Royal Palaces press office on 020 3166 6166 or email
  • London Fire Brigade press office – 0208 536 5922

Notes to editors

  • The exercise will take place from around 12.45pm on Tuesday, 19 January and will finish at around 4.30pm.
  • Fire appliances will be parked on St Katherine’s Way and other emergency response vehicles will be located in the vicinity of the Tower of London for the duration of the exercise.
  • For more information on how London Fire Brigade responds to fires and other emergencies at historic buildings visit the London Fire Brigade website.
  • Tuesday’s major exercise is the first high profile training event or the Brigade in a year which sees it mark its 150th anniversary.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit

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