Community emergency planning

Last Updated: 10 August 2022

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
  • tourists
  • 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

South Lakeland parish profile reports

Cumbria Observatory

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

Our role in emergency planning

Community emergency planning guidance and template (PDF 631KB / 12 pages)

The role of your councillor in an emergency

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

Cumbria Community Risk Register

Preparing for emergencies

Flooding information

Contact numbers for service providers

Cumbria Community Messaging (CCM)

Resilience in society: infrastructure, communities and businesses

Resources to help your residents in an emergency

Preparing your household for an emergency

Property level protection

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.

Community resilience groups and where to find their contacts online
Resilience group Find contacts online
Ambleside Lakes Parish Council
Backbarrow Backbarrow and Haverthwaite Parish Council
Barbon Barbon Parish Council
Burneside Burneside Parish Council
Burton-in-Kendal Flood Forum Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council
Cark-in-Cartmel Lower Holker Parish Council
Cartmel Lower Allithwaite Parish Council
Casterton Casterton Parish Council
Coniston Coniston Parish Council
Dent Dent Parish Council
Finsthwaite and Lakeside Colton Parish Council
Grange (Windermere Road area) Grange-over-Sands Town Council
Grasmere Lakes Parish Council
Hawkshead Hawkshead Parish Council
Holme Holme Parish Council

Kendal Community Emergency Planning Group (KCEPG):

Kendal Town Council

Kendal Hardknott Gardens area Ward councillors for Kendal South and Natland Ward
Kendal Helsington Mills Ward councillors for Bowness and Levens Ward
Kendal Castle Street area Ward councillors for Kendal Town Ward
Kendal Mintsfeet Ward councillors for Kendal Town Ward
Kendal Sandylands Ward councillors for Kendal East Ward
Kendal Benson Green area Ward councillors for Kendal Town Ward
Kendal Sand Aire House Ward councillors for Kendal Town Ward
Kendal Top Oak Tree area Ward councillors for Kendal East Ward
Kentmere Kentmere Parish Meeting
Kirkby Ireleth Kirkby Ireleth Parish Council
Pennington Pennington Parish Council
Preston Richard Preston Richard Parish Council
Sedbergh Sedbergh Parish Council
Sedgwick Sedgwick Parish Council
Stainton Stainton Parish Council
Staveley and Ings Staveley with Ings Parish Council
Troutbeck Bridge Windermere Town Council
Ulverston Councillor Mark Wilson
Windermere Lakes Level Group Windermere Town Council