Community Emergency Contacts
In an emergency understanding the local area, its community and its infrastructure can be critical. Nobody knows this better than local communities themselves, and Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared want to ensure we tap into this local knowledge as much as possible.
The Community Emergency Contact (CEC) scheme is a relatively simple idea and has been seen to work well in other areas across the country and as such it makes sense to implement it here.
During an incident, we (as emergency responders) will need to know what’s happening on the ground and by utilising our new Community Emergency Contacts we hope to exploit your knowledge and experience to help us with this task. We hope to have at least 3 contacts for each community area/parish who we can call upon in an emergency to liaise with about the ongoing situation. This will help us get a good understanding of the situation and ensure you as a community are well linked into the overall response.
How does it work?
In some emergencies we might require extra information about the situation on the ground which will include some local knowledge and experience. Should this be the case, the Local Authority Emergency Planning/ Civil Protection team will contact the CECs on file for that location to establish early dialogue and to gain vital information.
What is the role/What do I need to do?
The main roles (but are not limited to) are:
- To be a first point of contact during emergencies
- To liaison with Parish/Town Councils
- Be able to liaise with local residents with identified roles, i.e., neighbourhood watch, flood wardens etc.
- Be able to identify and pass information about vulnerable residents
- Identify severe and dangerous road conditions restricting transport
- Gathering, receiving and passing information from and to the community
- To have good communications via access to phones, email and internet
- Be available to contact within the community.
What information is held?
We only collect names, phone numbers and email addresses from the Emergency Community Contacts, which will be held on an internal database within both Councils. Only Local Authority staff in the Emergency Planning/Civil Protection teams in Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council will have access to this information.
Initial contact with the Community Emergency Contact in an emergency will always come through the Local Authorities and only if the incident requires it (and with agreement of the Community Emergency Contact) will the details be passed to other agencies (e.g., Fire and Police).
How do we join?
We have emailed every Town and Parish council asking if they would be interested in submitting some CECs for their area. However, this is an ongoing process, and we’d like to keep building the database further.
The CEC scheme is led through Town and Parish councils, but we do not want it to be constrained by council boundaries. We acknowledge that many parish/wards are large and therefore there are multiple distinct communities within them. If you feel your community needs more representation, please do get in touch with us and we can work with the local council to get you on the list.
If you are interested in joining, please email: email@example.com
Who runs/owns this scheme?
This scheme is run/owned by Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared (Local Resilience Forum).
Is the role paid?
This is a voluntary role and therefore it is not a paid position.
Do I need to be available all the time?
No. As this is a voluntary position your availability to answer the phone is only on a best endeavours approach
What happens if I don’t answer the phone?
We will ring the next person down on our list. You do not need to worry if you’ve missed our call.
What happens if all contacts in my area don’t pick up the phone?
In this case we will look to send out a member of staff to the scene or determine the requirements via another method.
Will I be contacted by phone for anything other than local emergencies?
We will only phone you in an emergency related to your local area.
Why do you need my email address?
This is used to check the data every year – we will send you an email to ask if you wish to remain on the scheme.
What if I want to leave the scheme?
Should you wish to leave the scheme please email firstname.lastname@example.org and just ask for your details to be removed. Your contact details will subsequently be removed within the following 7-14 days.
What Privacy Policies does this scheme abide by?
Both Local Authorities operate within the legal parameters of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As the data will be held by both Wiltshire Council and Swindon Council, the scheme is subject to both organisations Privacy Policies.
Where will my information be held?
Although the scheme is run by Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared, the data will be held by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council, who are both members of Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum. All data will be held by the Emergency Planning Team in Wiltshire Council and the Civil Protection Team in Swindon Borough Council. The data will not be passed to any other team or organisation unless agreement is given by the data owner (the individual themselves).
What if I want to update my details (email, name or phone number)?
Should you want to update any of your information please email: email@example.com
Is anyone able to request the details for their area?
We will not publicly state the CEC details for any specific area, other than whether they have any community contacts or not (we do not publicly reveal names, emails or contact numbers of any of the CECs).
The only person we will reveal the names of the CECs to is the Parish Clerk or the 1st contact for that area/parish/town. This is to ensure that each area has some ownership of their own CEC list.