Council planning for incidents
What is emergency planning?
The introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 placed new responsibilities on Local Authorities. Richmond Council is obliged to:
- Assess local risks and use the product to inform emergency planning.
- Review all emergency plans and procedures from first principles.
- Put in place internal business continuity management arrangements to ensure that the Council can continue to deliver its vital services in the event of a disruptive challenge.
- From May 2006: champion business continuity to local business.
- To put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency.
- Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination.
- Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency.
Emergency Planning is therefore a key local authority function which manages the response to a major emergency. It is a partnership of many agencies including the following
- Emergency services
- Local authorities
- NHS Trusts
- Government departments
- Utilities companies
- Voluntary agencies
Most emergency arrangements also recognise the vital role of the local community in helping itself recover from the adverse effects of an emergency.
Why do we need it?
Although we live in a very safe society, it is always sensible to prepare for the unexpected. Many people and organisations have insurance policies to protect them against the unfortunate events that can and do happen ‘any time, anywhere’, like floods, fires, chemical releases, transport accidents, illness and deliberate acts of violence. Emergency plans are a sensible preparation for any contingency.
Emergency Planning has a dual purpose
People and organisations work better in a crisis if they know what they are expected to do and how they can do it.
Planning and training prepares people to respond to an emergency and gives them an insight as to how others will fit into the overall response.
Management of Response
Staff and resources must be co-ordinated effectively to enable an appropriate and rapid response to the emergency.
The principal aims of emergency plans are:
- to preserve life and property.
- to mitigate the harmful effects of the emergency on the environment.
- to bring about a swift return to normal life for communities and the environment.
- to encourage all agencies and organisations to prepare for their role.
During an emergency each organisation contributes the skills that they use in their everyday work to the overall response. At the same time they ensure that their normal services are maintained at an appropriate level.
Emergency planning falls into four broad categories:
The council is continually assessing the risks that may affect the borough and developing and maintaining plans to ensure that procedures are in place to control and mitigate their impact.
Training and exercising
A programme of training and exercises for our staff and partner agencies is also in place so that integrated and effective working can be put into practice when needed.
The council also works closely with partner agencies and stakeholders to share information and ensure our plans and procedures fit together to provide a co-ordinated and integrated response to emergency incidents.
The council has a 24-hour Emergency Duty Officer system in place to ensure an urgent response is given to major incidents.