Community Emergency Planning

Any discussion about Community Emergency Planning needs a large dose of commonsense.

The banner image above is of a real incident.  Fortunately, there were no imjuries and no damage to the Midland Mainline railway tracks above.   However, if the vehicle had been carrying hazardous materials, or had caught fire, or if the bridge structure had been damaged just before an East Midlands Train passed by at speed,  the consequences could have been very serious.

Emergency Management is not new.   Seventy years ago, the Civil Defence Corps were set up in England to take local control of an area in an emergency.  By March 1956, the Corps had 330,000 personnel. They were stood down in 1968.

Parish Councils were expected to play their part during the Cold War period of the 1950s. When informed of an imminent nuclear attack, the Parish Clerk in Kibworth was expected to pedal through the village ringing a hand bell, summoning parishioners to take cover in the basement of the Working Mens Club (where there happened to be a bar). 

It isn't clear how the Clerk was to be informed if he/she didn't have a telephone or happened to be away.

My involvement in emergency planning began in 1999.   The beginning of the twenty-first century presented a new threat. Some computer operating systems were unable to understand dates beyond 1999. Y2K, as it became known, prompted a major assessment of IT structures with contingency plans put in place. As a result, there were few problems.

I was given a role in managing the planning for BBC in the East Midlands - four local radio stations, the regional televison service and BBC online services.

The long-term benefits of this wider work, which explored alternative ways to maintain services and strategies for recovering from a loss of services, is still to be seen today.

Working with Harborough District Council the Resilience Forum for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland,  in 2015 I directed and edited a film to encourage councils to consider emergency planning.  Click the button above to watch a short trailer.

Do not embark upon a Community Emergency Plan without serious consideration of the implications and practicalities.