What is emergency planning?

Emergencies can happen at any time, often strike without warning and their cause can range from human error such as road traffic collisions, to extreme acts of nature such as large scale flooding or severe ice and snow.

Such emergencies often result in:

  • the loss of basic services including water, power, gas and telephone lines.
  • damage to properties and local infrastructure.
  • evacuation from your home and neighbourhood.

In emergency planning, our aim is to reduce the chances of these emergencies occurring and if they do occur reducing their impact on residents and the environment to a minimum. We are guided by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This Act has established a statutory framework for civil protection and community resilience at a local level. Local responders have now become an integral part of civil resilience in the UK.

The act ensures that the organisations best placed to manage emergency response and recovery, are at the heart of civil protection. It achieves this by:

  • ensuring a clear set of roles and responsibilities for emergency response and recovery which encourages and enhances cross organisational working and communication.
  • establishing a set structure and uniformity for local emergency response and recovery activities, placing an importance on appropriate business resilience activities.
  • establishing an agreed platform for critically assessing the effectiveness of emergency planning at a local level, with a clear focus on review and updating of plans and procedures.

The Act further establishes two different categories of responders as set out below.

Category one responders

In Category One are organisations which are at the core of the response to most emergencies such as Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance as well as NHS bodies and local authorities. Statutory duties are placed upon Category One responders and Brent Council is obliged to write, maintain and exercise emergency plans. These plans cover a wide range of potential emergencies and are created either specifically for Brent, or as part of the wider London based multi-agency response.

The day-to-day activities of the Brent Emergency Planning Team include:

  • conducting risk assessments to identify hazards. This allows us to prioritise planning and resources to the areas faced with the greatest threat.
  • writing and maintaining emergency plans.
  • providing advice and undertaking warning and informing activities such as providing severe weather guidance, producing our community risk register and providing information about business resilience.
  • exercising and reviewing plans and emergency procedures. This is either done in-house with just Brent Council employees or in conjunction with our multi-agency partners.

Category two responders

Category two responders are ‘co-operating bodies’. They are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work, but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their own sector. Category two responders include utilities companies, voluntary sector as well as the Health and Safety Executive.

Brent Resilience Forum

Category one and Category two responders in Brent come together to form the Brent Resilience Forum. This is a quarterly forum meeting where both sets of responders take the opportunity to catch up, inform and discuss each pertinent exercise, incidents or developments.