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How the Council helps in an emergency

How the council prepares for an emergency and how an emergency is managed.

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The Civil Contingencies Act describes an emergency as:

  • An event / situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare
  • An event / situation which threatens serious damage to the environment
  • War / terrorism, which threatens serious damage to security in the UK.

Emergencies can be a result of natural disaster such as storms, flooding and earthquakes or man made events such as train, plane crashes, crowd related incidents or acts of terrorism.

How are emergencies managed?

Response procedures are initiated by the Emergency Services. The senior officer present at the scene of the incident will carry out a risk assessment of the scale of the incident, and decide if a major emergency should be declared. The management of the response to a major emergency will usually be undertaken at one or more of the following three levels:

  • Operational (Bronze) - This level is activated first. It relates to the work carries out on the incident site by the emergency services.
  • Tactical (Silver) - A tactical level of management is introduced to provide overall management of the response. Managers determine priorities in allocating resources, get more resources if needed, as well as planning and co-ordinating tasks.
  • Strategic (Gold) - Usually located away from the incident, this level of management sets the strategy for the tactical managers.

How does Fenland District Council help during an emergency?

Following an emergency, the Council will support the Emergency Services whilst maintaining existing services it provides to the community. As the emergency develops and moves towards the recovery stage, the Emergency Services will hand over control to the Council (this could be Fenland District Council or Cambridgeshire County Council depending on the nature and scale of the emergency). They will then take on the leading role in supporting the community and the environment to get back to normal.

The Council can also provide assistance and resources in the form of Emergency Rest, Survivor and Friend & Relatives Reception Centres. They can also provide support the community by offering welfare and council ling help lines, emergency feeding, cleaning and specialist services and well as Environmental Health guidance.

Why have plans in place for emergencies?

Natural disasters like flooding, animal diseases and terrorist events show that plans help agencies and emergency services to react efficiently. The Emergency Services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) are called to deal with emergencies on a daily basis. Under normal circumstances, there is usually no need to call upon other agencies for outside assistance. Occasionally however, an emergency situation will occur. The nature and scale of this will most likely require the support of all of the emergency services, but also the support of the Local Authority, Voluntary Agencies and Government Departments etc.

Preparing for emergencies (planning)

Emergency Planning is the process where the Council prepares for emergencies which could affect the District at any time. To provide an efficient and effective response, the Council has emergency plans and arrangements in place which allow senior officers to initiate, control and co-ordinate the response to a major emergency. As part of this, the Council runs an Emergency Duty Officer system 365 days a year. This ensures that senior officers are available on a 24-hour basis to respond to calls for assistance by the Emergency Services. If required, these officers will begin the Council's emergency response procedures and set up an emergency headquarters.

The Council has its own Emergency Management Plan, which is continually reviewed and updated. The Plan considers a variety of potential emergencies and hazards. and how the Council's Emergency Management Team would best respond. This ensures that immediate support and resources are provided to reduce the impact of the major emergency on people, property and the environment. Emergency Planning is also undertaken in partnership with the Emergency Services and other agencies involved in responding to emergencies - this makes sure that resources are used in the most effective way possible.

More information about how you can prepare for an emergency.