What is Emergency Planning
It is an unfortunate fact of life that emergencies and disasters do occur. These often unpredictable and tragic events have various effects on our society and the environment in which we live and work. It is to contain and minimise these events and their effects that the emergency services and local authorities make plans for such situations.
Most of us plan for emergencies, whether by installing a fire extinguisher, carrying a first aid kit or hiding a spare key somewhere. On a much larger scale, Government, Local Authorities (Councils), businesses and other large organisations also make plans for unexpected incidents. This may be carried out in order to protect an organisation, its employees and customers, the public or shareholders. It may also be that the reasons for this planning are financial, moral or legal.
The risk of a major disaster occurring in the Ribble Valley is relatively low, however all too often we are reminded that these events do occur, such incidents may include major transport accidents, severe weather conditions, chemical incidents, explosions, fire, flooding, fuel or power supply failure, loss of or disruption to essential services/communications, terrorist activities.
The world's media transmits pictures of the most recent disasters daily into our homes. From natural disasters in developing countries to transportation disasters closer to home, we are made aware of those all too frequent events that impact on people's lives and property.
Emergency Planning is concerned with facilitating the planning, preparation and coordination of the local authorities response to a disruptive influence or major incident. Application of the local authority resources will be used to mitigate the effects of emergencies on people, property and infrastructure. In addition to dealing with the incident, normal support and care for the local and wider community must continue throughout any disruption.
The types of emergency that require a response from the council are those which need the implementation of special arrangements by one or more of the emergency services, or where there are large numbers of people involved.
No single agency has the capacity, skills and resources or indeed the sole responsibility to respond successfully to a 'major incident'. Disasters demand a combined and coordinated response, linking the expertise and resources of the emergency services and local authorities, supplemented as appropriate by other organisations.
The concept utilised is that termed 'Integrated Emergency Management'. This involves working with national and regional emergency planning bodies, the emergency services, utilities and voluntary agencies to ensure that together with the council's own departments, all concerned will work together with the common goal of returning the community to normality as soon as is reasonably possible.
Duties of the Emergency Planning Officer
- Assess the likelihood, risk and potential effects of a particular emergency
- Prepare action plans for the deployment of resources
- Co-ordinate the local authorities response with other services
- Train staff involved in the emergency plans
- Validate the plans through exercises and training
- Liase with the emergency services to ensure an effective and integrated response
- Identify and locate resources & facilities
- Produce the authorities 'Business Continuity plan' and promote this philosophy.