Community emergency planning
Last Updated: 21 May 2021
Community emergency planning and community resilience groups are about communities and individuals using local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services.
There are lots of resources available to help you make a community emergency plan and form a community resilience group in your area.
Communities plan to be more resilient by forming a coordination team, identifying the local risks, listing local assets and gaining support from existing local community groups. The coordination team complete risk assessments, seek insurance, train volunteers, obtain funding and plan press releases to generate local awareness. Communities know when to activate their emergency plan as they know the local thresholds or indicators that trigger the plan. These triggers may be Environment Agency or Met Office warnings or alerts from Cumbria Community Messaging.
Community resilience groups offer varying levels of support. Many limit their response to visiting residents and passing on important information, whilst checking if people are able to keep themselves safe. Some groups also offer physical support, for example opening a village hall to shelter residents or moving sandbags.
Many communities already help one another in times of need, but experience has shown that those who have spent time planning and preparing for this are better able to cope, and recover more quickly.
Local knowledge and vulnerable people
Communities have a great wealth of local knowledge and are aware of many of their vulnerable people who may need help. Resilient communities are able to help local people by checking if they are able to keep themselves safe. If life is in danger then they can call the emergency services.
The most vulnerable groups in emergencies include:
- children and young people
- homeless people
- older people
- pregnant women
- mobility impaired people
- minority language speakers
- people with mental health impairments
- sensory impaired people
- travelling community
- temporarily or permanently ill people
- people cared for by relatives
- people supported by health or local authorities
Rather than attempting to maintain a list of vulnerable people, it is best to rely on local knowledge and check that people are safe. There are significant data protection issues associated with producing a list of named people and lists become out of date almost immediately as people’s circumstances change and local residents change.
Information on the population on your community
How we can help with community emergency planning
We work with communities to help them develop their own resilience plans.
This often includes providing:
- guidance at meetings
- advice on how to link in with Cumbria emergency response structures
- plan templates
- examples of good work
- contacts with other groups and agencies
Councillors have a valuable role to play during any major emergency, as residents will readily turn to councillors for information and support. They may have a leading role within a community resilience group or may assist the group with information.
During an emergency
The period at the start of an emergency is a crucial time. As the immediate danger is brought under control, briefings will be available to councillors, particularly to those whose areas are involved.
A councillor may be involved in:
- supporting and providing reassurance to the affected community
- supporting the response with local knowledge eg identifying vulnerable people
- supporting liaison with town and parish councils and community resilience groups
- channelling information to the public as a community leader
During the recovery stage
The recovery process involves re-establishing the community and local businesses.
As community leaders, elected members may become involved in:
- using local knowledge and community contacts to provide support
- promoting joint working between county, district and parish authorities
- liaising with other elected representatives, including Members of Parliament
Resources for community resilience planning
Resources to help your residents in an emergency
Community resilience group contacts
Nearly all of the resilience groups below are known about by parish councils or ward councillors. Resilience groups can have different titles, the most common being Flood Action Group, Community Emergency Planning Group or Community Resilience Group.