Large scale emergency incidents will inevitably occur from time to time, and they can have a huge effect on people's lives. However, by planning ahead it is possible to reduce the chances of one happening, and also lessen the impact it may have.
Hertfordshire Resilience has been established following the introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act, which came into force in November 2005. The Act requires Category 1 Responders (Emergency Services, NHS, Environment Agency and Local Authorities) to work together to:
- Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning;
- Put in place emergency plans;
- Put in place Business Continuity Management arrangements;
- Put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency;
- Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination;
- Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency; and
- Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management (Local Authorities only).
Category 2 Responders (e.g. Health and Safety Executive, transport and utility companies) are "co-operating bodies" are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector. Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other Category 1 and 2 responders.
Hertfordshire Resilience co-ordinates and promotes resilience in Hertfordshire. For more information, visit the Hertfordshire Resilience page of the Hertfordshire County Council website.
The British Red Cross has set up a Community Reserve Volunteer programme for anyone interested in helping in their community during a crisis. More information about this programme is available on the British Red Cross website.
All services and agencies involved in a combined response will work to a set of common objectives, which will help to:
- prevent escalation of the disaster
- save life
- relieve suffering
- restore normality as soon as possible
- protect property
- facilitate criminal investigation and judicial, public, technical or other enquiries as possible.
As well as dealing with the aftermath of a major incident, all of the organisations work together to ensure that the best possible plans are in place to deal with an emergency. These are regularly tested and updated so that the agencies can respond immediately and effectively to any threat.
In the case of most major emergencies, the simple advice to follow is go inside, stay inside, and tune into local radio. With most incidents the safest place to be is indoors, and with correct preparation you should be able to stay there safely for some time.
Hertfordshire Resilience and the county's radio stations work together to make sure that they can give out accurate and up to date information to keep people fully informed on what do if there is a major incident.
Although generally staying inside is the best thing to do, this is not always the case (for example in the case of a house fire). To be sure what to do, follow the advice given by the emergency services or the local radio.
Radio is easily accessible. You can listen to it in the car, and as long as you have a battery powered or wind-up radio, you can still listen in even if there is a power cut.
Local radio stations: