Emergency Planning in Hertfordshire
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council works closely with other agencies involved in emergency planning issues as part of Hertfordshire Resilience, which is the Local Resilience Forum for Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire Resilience includes representatives from the 'blue light' emergency services, as well as local authorities, the National Health Service, government agencies voluntary organisations and transport and utility companies.
Emergency Planning in Local Authorities
Local authorities have several roles in an emergency in order to provide support for the people in their areas. This is primarily achieved by co-operating with the emergency services in the overall response and using local authority resources to help minimise the effects of the emergency. In addition to supporting the emergency response, normal services need to continue as far as possible.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council as a local authority has particular responsibilities in an emergency in relation to:
- Providing emergency shelter and re-housing;
- The safety of structures;
- Environmental health issues
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's Arrangements
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has an internal resilience team, chaired by the Chief Executive, which oversees work on emergency planning and business continuity issues. This team is made up of key officers with a variety of technical and professional skills.
The council has a dedicated team, The Risk and Resilience team, who, among other matters, are responsible for emergency planning and business continuity.
In addition to key officers, whose jobs automatically mean that they could have a role in an emergency, the council has a Crisis Support Team. These are members of staff from the council and the Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust who have volunteered to help during an incident, for example by staffing a rest centre for those evacuated or helping in the council's incident control centre. All our volunteers undergo appropriate training for their roles.
The Council has an emergency plan that is flexible enough to deal with a variety of emergencies. In summary the plan outlines:
- How the plan will be activated;
- Roles and responsibilities;
- Arrangements for welfare and communications;
- Arrangements for reception centres and the incident control centre (separate operational plans are in place for these aspects of our response);
- Recovery from an incident.
Our emergency plan links onto several other multi-agency plans that are maintained by Hertfordshire Resilience.
We also maintain business continuity plans to help us to keep our key services running during an emergency. Sometimes an incident that affects the council or draws on our resources may result in some non-key services being suspended for a while and other service may be provided at a reduced level during these periods due to the urgent demands on our resources that result from an emergency.