Local Plans - Keeping Your Community Safe
All local agencies are fully committed to responding to and supporting our communities at times of emergency and crisis. However, to minimise the impact of such situations the most powerful response is for communities to get together themselves beforehand to produce their own Community Emergency Plan.
Our philosophy within the LRF is to promote ‘Community Resilience’ which is about enabling people, businesses and communities to help themselves be better prepared in an emergency. This can be done in a number of ways, for example, by individual households - please see our Are You Ready? booklet.
All local agencies are fully committed to responding to and supporting our communities at times of emergency and crisis. However, to minimise the impact of such situations the most powerful response is for communities to get together themselves beforehand to produce their own Community Emergency Plan. It is local people who know their neighbourhoods better than anyone. Working together to produce a Community Emergency Plan will galvanise community spirit, motivate members of the public and encourage a good neighbourly approach.
Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council lead on community resilience for the LRF and Wiltshire Council has produced a helpful 4 step AIDE to Community Resilience 4 step toolkit and a Community Emergency Plan Template to assist in the production of a Community Emergency Plan. The Government has also produced a Community Emergency Plan toolkit which sits alongside this. Early action on the ground, especially in more remote areas, depends on local capacity, skills and resources. Prior planning, using these toolkits, can make sure that the local response is as effective as possible and that your community can recover speedily from an emergency.
Preparing a Community Emergency Plan will also raise local awareness of the risks that may affect residents, encourage local people to adapt and use their existing skills, knowledge and resources to deal with an emergency, and build local commitment to working in partnership with the emergency services and other local agencies. Both Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council are keen to support communities in producing these plans and their Emergency Planning Departments are readily available to offer advice and guidance. These Departments also assist communities in testing their plans and further information can be obtained from them.
In 2013, Swindon Borough Council secured Government funding for a community resilience project in relation to flooding. The project learned from the collective experience of DEFRA, the Environment Agency, local authorities and partners such as the National Flood Forum in developing a new community led approach to flood risk management. The project aimed to raise community awareness and empowerment through a programme of engagement, training and exercising and to build confidence thereby developing community resilience. It encouraged participation in flood preparedness activities to affect change at the community level whereby groups are empowered to realise innovative and sustainable solutions to flooding and to mitigate the financial impacts of flooding on vulnerable groups.
The British weather is unpredictable and there is uncertainty around climate change. Consequently, it is important that communities plan for severe weather. The Met Office promotes community resilience and provides advice on a whole range of weather scenarios through their website. This advice can be accessed here.
Flooding is one of the major risks that face many communities across the UK and this is true of Wiltshire and Swindon. The Environment Agency produce helpful advice and guidance about preparing for flooding and this can be found at the Environment Agency Website.
The LRF bases its planning around risk in order to prioritise its work programme. We maintain a Community Risk Register and have produced a booklet entitled What’s Our Risks? which is a publicly available document and may be helpful in drafting a Community Emergency Plan.
For more information and advice on producing a Community Emergency Plan please contact Wiltshire Council Emergency Planning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nick Bancroft at Swindon Borough Council at email@example.com.