Page last updated at 12 June 2015 at 09:16
What is an emergency?
Every day the emergency services are called to deal with circumstances which require the use of their knowledge and skills to safeguard life and property. Occasionally an incident occurs that, by its nature and size, will need the additional specialist services of other agencies including the County and District Councils, the Health Authorities and voluntary organisations, to instigate this joint response there would be a declared "Major Incident"
Definition of an Emergency
"An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the UK, the environment of a place in the UK, or war or terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK"
Emergencies leading to a Major incident can occur in a number of ways, some of the more common being:-
- Severe weather
- Natural disaster
- Industrial accidents
- Transport accidents
- What is emergency planning?
Emergency Planning is one of the key local authority functions which prepares and plans for a managed response to a major emergency through the following 6 stages:-
- Recovery Management
It is a partnership of local authorities, emergency services, non-emergency services, Government departments and voluntary organisations likely to have a role in responding to emergencies, working under a formal framework of mutual support, information sharing and communicating brought about through the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA).
This recent legislation introduces 6 duties for category 1 responders with a 7th for local authorities.
1 Risk assessment
2 Emergency Planning
3 Communicating with the public
5 Information sharing
6 Business continuity
7 Promotion of business continuity within the community - For local authorities only: the CCA requires us to promote Business Continuity management to the commercial sectors and voluntary organisations within the local community
The Role of Emergency Planning
Eastleigh Borough Council, working with its partners within the concept of Integrated Emergency Management, is committed to prevent or reduce the effects of any disaster in the community. To this end it is developing plans and staff designated and trained to respond should an emergency occur through activation of the Borough Emergency Control Centre (BECC) or the provision of Prepared Rest Centres (PRC) throughout the Borough. It is also committed to maintaining its normal services despite the disruption and dislocation that disasters can sometimes cause through development and integration of Business Continuity Management (BCM) throughout the council.
Plans are developed for a wide variety of emergency situations. Recent years has shown an increase in the number of emergencies that have struck without warning. The concept of Integrated Emergency Management with fellow agencies and supporting organisations is utilised to the full in Eastleigh to ensure a flexible response to any potential disaster.
The Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) 2004 provides definitions of Category 1 and category 2 responders, some are shown below
Category 1 responders
- Local Authorities
- Fire and Rescue
- NHS trusts
- Port Health Authorities
- Environmental Agencies
Category 2 Responders
- Electricity distribution companies
- Gas distribution companies
- Water and Sewerage undertakers
- Airport Operators
- Telephone service providers
- Railway operators
- Highway Authority
Each has duties imposed upon them by the Act; all Category 1 responders have six duties with local authorities having seven.
Category 2 responders have a duty to co-operate and share information.
Under Health and Safety at Work and other legislation, local authorities have duties to make arrangements for specific contingencies such as major industrial hazards and radiation emergencies.
In a number of areas the Government expects local authorities to make emergency arrangements, for example, to tackle the effects of coastal oil pollution.
The Role of Eastleigh Borough Council
It is accepted that in most instances within Hampshire, the District Council in whose area the incident occurs will lead the local authority response. Eastleigh Borough Council will be responsible for initiating and co-ordinating the total local authority response to any emergency occurring in the Borough, including the responses of Area Departmental offices of Hampshire County Council and those of the voluntary agencies.
Borough Council Emergency Control Centre (BECC)
The operational commander would co-ordinate the Eastleigh Borough Council response to the emergency from the BECC. In most cases, the Centre will be established in the Civic Offices. The functions of the Centre are: to collect, collate and disseminate information so that quick and informed decisions can be made; to co-ordinate the work and act as the central liaison point for the Borough Council's Service Units and other organisations involved in the emergency; and to record and time all requests for services and resources and the actions taken in consequence.
In addition to the BECC support staff it is also likely that there will be liaison officers in attendance from other agencies involved, e.g. Police, Social Services etc.
The Borough Council will often send a member of staff to the scene to act as the Local Authority Liaison Officer and to be the Control rooms "eyes and ears" at the scene. He or she will also advise the Police Incident Commander on the availability and deployment of Council resources to assist with the emergency and provide information to the Controller in the Emergency Centre.
During the emergency phase in all major emergencies it should be remembered that the local authority role is normally no more than one of support to the full-time emergency services. However, once the emergency phase of the incident has ended it is likely that Eastleigh Borough Council would become the lead authority for the return to normality.
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum (LRF)
The Borough Council is a member of the LRF which covers the policing area of Hampshire Constabulary. The LRF website gives detailed information on its work, membership and policies as well as providing practical advice for residents and businesses on emergency planning matters.
If you would like to know more about emergency planning please contact -
Melvin Hartley, Community Safety and Emergency Planning Manager, Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh Hants SO50 9YN (for post) SO509FD (for sat navs)
Telephone: 023 8068 8149 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org