Emergency Plan – Our Response To An Emergency

Our Aim
In an emergency Rochford District Council will work with other agencies to support those affected and to help in their recovery.

How we will achieve this
The resources of the Council will be reprioritised to meet our aim, whilst still ensuring that we maintain our essential services.

This policy outlines the actions we will take to:

  • Understand what is happening
  • Decide on the actions we will take
  • Work with other agencies
  • Share information on what is happening
  • Provide practical support for those affected
  • Make sure we are prepared
  • Provide mutual aid to other Local Authorities

These actions apply to all types of emergencies although the support we provide will vary with the circumstances.

The operational detail of these actions are contained in procedural notes that are used for reference and training.

1 Understand what is happening

Understanding the situation is key to providing the most effective response. Rochford District Council will take the following actions to ensure that we have good information on which to make decisions:

  • District Emergency Information Cell - Staff will run an Emergency Information Cell the main purpose of which will be to compile and manage information about the emergency and its impact, the response by other agencies and how the situation may develop. This will be reported to the Managing Director and the Leadership Team to enable them to make decisions about the response by the Council. The Emergency Information Cell will be set up in the Rochford offices for most incidents, but depending on circumstances we may choose other locations, or provide the service on a virtual basis.
  • Liaison Officers - In order to ensure that the Council has good information and its interests are represented, we will send Liaison Officers to work with appropriate partners and groups of partners. In particular we will seek to have representation at Strategic Co-ordination Group meetings, either in person or by telephone conference. Liaison Officers will report back to the Emergency Information Cell.
  • Sending Officers to the Scene - To help with our assessment of the emergency we will send Council Officers to the areas affected to report back on the situation. Out of hours our On Call Officers will lead on local assessment. This information will be reported to the Emergency Information Cell.
  • Links to the Parish Councils - We value contact with the District and Parish Councillors during an emergency to aid in our understanding of what is happening. We encourage Parish Councils to develop Parish Emergency Plans to help them work with us and support their local community. Information from the Parishes will be reported to the Emergency Information Cell.

2 Decide on the actions we will take
In response to an emergency the Managing Director will call together the Leadership Team to agree the action to be taken by Rochford District Council. Depending on circumstances this meeting could be held by phone conference. A strategy to support the needs of the Rochford residents will be formed to cover both the initial response and to consider our role during the recovery period.

Where there is advance knowledge of a risk, for example advance warning of severe weather, the Leadership Team will meet in advance to prepare its response.

Services will report back to the Emergency Information Cell on the actions they are taking. This will be incorporated into future reports to the managing Director and the Leadership Team.

3 Work with other agencies
All organisations responding to an incident will be prioritising their resources to meet the requirements of the emergency. It is important that we work with other agencies to ensure a coordinated and effective joint response. Through the staff in the Emergency Information Cell and the use of Liaison Officers we will maintain a dialogue with partners.

We will ensure that we maintain links to any coordinating groups that might be established, in particular a Strategic Coordination Group.

4 Share information on what is happening
The Emergency Information Cell will work with our Communications Team to ensure information on the emergency response is available to the residents of Rochford District. They will work to ensure that the current situation is reflected on the Council’s website and shared through social networks. We will provide updates to the broadcast media, in particular to local radio stations. Briefs will be provided for District and Parish Councillors and updates will be put on the Council’s intranet to keep staff informed.

5 Provide practical support for those affected
If people are displaced from their homes the Council will open its Leisure Centres to act as assistance centres. They will provide information on what is happening and, if required, emergency feeding and accommodation. Once these basic needs are met Council staff will work with individuals on their specific needs.

We will also support local assistance centres established through Parish Council emergency plans.

The Managing Director will work with the Leadership Team to assess any other ways in which the Council resources may be redeployed to support those affected.

6 Make sure we are prepared
To ensure that we are able to meet the aims outlined above we will undertake the following actions:

  • Maintain documents to record the operational detail of the actions outlined in this policy.
  • Identify staff to assist in the roles of Emergency Information Cell operation and Liaison Officer.
  • Ensure we maintain a capability to respond by all Services.
  • Undertake training for both general and specific response roles.
  • Hold exercises to test our capabilities.
  • Work with other agencies to ensure we understand each others’ response and capabilities (mainly through the Local Resilience Forum).
  • Consider the main risks to the District and plan to meet them.
  • Ensure we are able to make an initial response out of hours via our On Call Officer system and that the Council can take action within a reasonable time scale at any time.

7 Provide mutual aid to other Local Authorities
We will be prepared to assist others when our District is not at risk.