Emergency planning and Business Continuity:
- It pays to be prepared for any emergency
- Business continuity management and promotion
- Guidance on community action during severe weather
A major emergency is commonly defined as any event (happening with or without warning) causing or threatening death or injury, damage to property or the environment or disruption to the community, which because of the scale of its effects cannot be dealt with as part of our day-to-day activities.
Most emergencies are completely unpredictable. To prepare for a response to the foreseeable risks and other incidents the Council has developed a range of response plans as it is required to do as a Category 1 responder as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The plans are generic and site/function specific and are established so that resources and experienced people can respond effectively when a major crisis occurs.
Local authorities at both county and district council level have a statutory requirement under various pieces of legislation (such as the Civil Defence Act of 1948, the Local Government Act of 1972 amended by the Housing Act of 1996, and the Civil Protection in Peacetime Act of 1986) to produce plans to deal with the effects of disasters
It pays to be prepared for any emergency:
You don't have to be a Scout to be prepared - planning for what could happen makes sound common sense.
For clear practical advice to help you prepare for and respond to an emergency visit the 'What should I do in an emergency' pages.
You can also download the 'What should I do in an Emergency?' booklet
Kent Police and other public bodies work closely together, through the Kent Resilience Forum, to make sure arrangements are in place to respond effectively to major emergencies such as flooding, severe weather, transport crashes and threats to health.
Everyone in Kent and Medway can take simple steps so they are ready too. These include having a supply of bottled water, some tinned and dried food, spare warm clothes and blankets, a first aid kit, torch, radio and supply of batteries.
- In an emergency, remember Go in, stay in, tune in for advice and updates in the local media
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 designates all local authorities (county and district) as Category 1 responders. The Council's Civil Protection duties are detailed in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and how they should be performed is set out in The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) Regulations 2005. The Act and Regulations are supported by a guidance document called 'Emergency Preparedness', which, "inter alia", includes requirements for planning, warning and informing the public, exercising plans and training personnel.
In addition, Dartford Borough Council has a responsibility to all people who are living, working or simply passing through the Borough. This responsibility, known as a "Duty of Care", has become legally established as a consequence of a number of public enquiries and court cases which have resulted from major disasters such as the London bombings, the capsize of the "Herald of Free Enterprise, the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, the Grand National evacuation, more natural events such as foot and mouth virus, fuel shortages, hurricanes, burst water mains and many, many more.
The Council has an Agreement with the Emergency Planning Unit of Kent County Council to provide an agreed level of service to enhance this level of preparedness.
Also, the Council, along with the other Kent District Councils, the County Council and Medway Council, has agreed to assist the others and be assisted where an incident has overwhelmed the resources of any group of Councils.
The Council works closely with the emergency services, health services, local councils, professional partners, voluntary agencies and industry. By working together we can make sure our emergency plans and risk assessments are accurate about the likelihood, consequence and potential impact of hazards. There are specialist groups who meet and share information as part of a more general process of dialogue and co-operation. Information sharing is an important part of emergency planning work, underpinning all forms of co-operation.
The Council has an active role in the Kent Resilience Forum at Policy and Executive levels thus forging strong links with the other emergency services and Category 1 and 2 responders.
Business continuity management and promotion:
The procedures required to recover the operational environment after a major incident is a complex task relying on the co-operative efforts of many people. It is essential that the full recovery procedure is planned, clearly documented, tested and reviewed periodically by the various recovery units as described in this document.
As a Category 1 responder the Council has the following duties:
- Business Continuity Management; 'maintain plans for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that if an emergency occurs the person or body is able to continue to perform his or its functions'
- In addition, as a local authority, the Council has the additional duty to provide advice and assistance to the commercial sector and voluntary organisations
- Business Continuity Promotion; "provide advice and assistance to the public in connection with the making of arrangements for the continuance of commercial activities by the public, or the continuance of the activities of bodies other than public or local authorities whose activities are not carried on for profit, in the event of an emergency":
Guidance on community action during severe weather:
Every year public-spirited volunteers get out in their communities and support people who are affected by severe weather conditions.
Whether shovelling the snow away from schools or transporting food and medicine to the vulnerable, these volunteers step up for neighbours in trouble. This is the community spirit that lies at the heart of the Big Society and the Government is keen that no would-be volunteer is discouraged or barred from helping out.
This guidance is for all those individuals, and voluntary groups, who want to get involved this year.
The guidance challenges misconceptions about health and safety laws getting in the way of action and volunteering. It also contains contacts for useful charities for vulnerable people such as the Red Cross, and tips on how to volunteer.
We need the Big Society most in times of adversity when communities have to pull together. This guidance sets out how you can survive the ice and snow and help your neighbours to do the same.
If you are stuck at home due to the snow ask your boss if you can use the day to volunteer locally. Skills such plumbing and tree surgery are very valuable.
- You do not need a Criminal Records Bureau check to call round and check on elderly friends and neighbours
- You can help clear paths and pavements to prevent slips and falls - don't believe the myths about being sued
If you are willing to help your community and support people who are affected by the severe weather conditions, read the guidance booklet below for helpful and practical advice and tips.
- The Big Society in action - Guidance on community action during severe weather
A list of contact details to be used in the event of an emergency
The aim is to provide clear, practical advice to help you prepare for and respond to an emergency. A lot of thee information is common sense, but it has saved lives