Community Emergency Plan
A Community Emergency Plan (CEP) is a simple document drawn up and maintained by the community itself to help them coordinate local resources to respond to a ‘disruptive event’ such as flooding, snow, electricity cuts etc. They form part of the co-ordinated response with the emergency services and the local authority. The Emergency Planning Unit ( EPU) distributes guidance and templates to assist groups in drawing up these plans.
In the event of an emergency, CEPs are an efficient way of identifying people who might be willing to help, equipment that could be used and safe locations where people can gather if they cannot stay in their homes.
In drawing up a plan, Communities are asked to consider;
- The sort of risks that might affect their community (flooding, snow, power failure)
- Available local resources and skills
- Safe locations
- Emergency contact lists (of those who have volunteered to help)
- How to help vulnerable people in the community
- What sort of event will trigger the activation of the CEP and what will be the actions to take first
As well as helping communities to help themselves, CEPs are also valued by emergency responders as a way of liaising with local people to support a local response and prevent duplication of efforts. For example they may ask for a local building to be opened to act as a reception centre or use the key contacts as a way of disseminating information about rising river levels.
CEPs have been vital in allowing us to help speed up the way in which communities can help themselves. For example we have used the contacts and local knowledge to identify locations where sandbag stores can be kept and accessed by local co-ordinators in an emergency, possibly before the emergency services even get to location. This has helped reduce the number of homes and businesses flooded, and kept water away from key infrastructure such as electricity substations.
CEPS have enabled the EPU to develop a ‘Parish Database’ which means that venues such as halls can be searched on a postcode basis, and keyholders identified in case of emergency evacuation needs. Every year the EPU carries out an annual survey, to ensure that the information contained within the CEPs remains up to date, and to prompt any revisions to be incorporated in a timely manner.
Experience has taught us that local people know their communities’ best and CEPs are intended to harness that knowledge to the benefit of all. It enables us to target our limited resources where they are most needed, particularly in the first few hours of an emergency.
Here are some tips to help you get ready for winter, and they’re all free…
Message in a Bottle is a scheme offered by the Lions charity in Oxfordshire. It helps emergency responders or staff to know that you use medication or have medical needs, should they have to assist you. It’s a simple scheme: the bottle contains your medical list and lives in your fridge, whilst the sticker goes on your door to alert emergency personnel. Be a good neighbour and promote the Message in a Bottle scheme to your friends who use medication.
Utilities companies, such as your electricity or gas or water companies, have schemes to help priority customers. Contact your utilities companies and ask about their priority scheme for:
- parents/guardians/families with very young children
- elderly customers
- disabled customers and those with acute medical requirements