GREAT swathes of North Devon and Torridge were under water last week and councils, rescue services health workers, volunteers and utility companies joined forces to deal with the emergency. It was all part of Exercise Brighid, the biggest recovery exercis

GREAT swathes of North Devon and Torridge were under water last week and councils, rescue services health workers, volunteers and utility companies joined forces to deal with the emergency.It was all part of Exercise Brighid, the biggest recovery exercise of its kind ever staged in the region.The simulated table-top exercise waas designed to address long-term recovery issues after a severe flood.North Devon Council took the opportunity to test its new computer-based Major Incident Logging System and Emergency Co-ordination Centre at the Civic Centre. Torridge linked the exercise to its Emergency Management Team, which dealt with the operational aspect of the incident.Ruth Staddon, Emergency Planning Officer at Torridge District Council, said: "The scenario was a weather front hitting North Devon and North Somerset at the same time as high tides, resulting in overtopping of defences and major flooding. "The exercise dealt with the recovery phase three days later, when the waters were receding. There were issues such as damage to roads and railway, access to the hospital, possible pollution from industrial sites, ponding of water due to blocked drains, places to stay for people who couldn't go home when they left temporary emergency rest centres, power problems, panic buying, fuel difficulties and the clear-up."The whole exercise was filmed to make a training DVD.Torridge council leader James Morrish said: It is only right and proper that, as community leaders, both Torridge and North Devon councils should be prepared for any emergency. We need to learn from other areas, for example Gloucestershire and the 2008 flooding, and ensure that our residents and businesses are well protected by a united team."North Devon council leader Michael Harrison said: "In the event of a major incident the council has a responsibility to protect the people of North Devon and bring the area back to normality as quickly as possible. This exercise was an excellent example of partnership working and will help forge strong relationships.