Day of emergency planning for Wiltshire councils

PLANS to deal with emergency situations in Wiltshire were put to the test during a recent training event.

Town and parish councils from across Wiltshire and Swindon met in Tidworth to take part in an event to help local communities prepare to act when needed in an emergency.

The event was hosted by Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared, a multi-agency partnership between Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council, emergency responders, the health sector, utility providers and voluntary agencies.

One of the partnership’s main roles is to work with communities to coordinate planning and preparation for incidents and catastrophic emergencies.

The day featured an exercise based on severe weather to test the effectiveness of local community emergency plans, which saw more than 200 people take part. There were also presentations from utility providers and stands and demonstrations from other partners, including how to build a sandbag wall and preparing for utility outages.

Cllr Ashley O’Neill, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for communities, said: “This event was a good opportunity to build on the great work already being done in our communities and to share best practice across a large network of local organisations involved in responding to an emergency.

“The knowledge gained and connections made will enable communities to respond early to emergencies and work with the council and emergency services.

“The Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared partnership enables us to work better across organisations and with communities to prepare and respond to emergencies.

“It also follows our business plan guiding themes of prevention and early intervention, understanding communities and working together.”

Perry Holmes, chair of Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum, said: “I was delighted to see so many town and parish councils attending the resilience event in Tidworth to learn how to turn their community spirit into community resilience and how to plan to keep their communities safe when emergency events occur.

“It was an excellent day and I feel sure that attendees left feeling better informed about their own emergency plans and the role local communities can play when emergencies happen. This can include making sandbags available in floods or opening local buildings to provide a warm safe space.”

Local resilience forums (LRFs) are multi-agency partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others.

LRFs aim to plan and prepare for localised incidents and catastrophic emergencies.

They work to identify potential risks and produce emergency plans to either prevent or mitigate the impact of any incident in their local communities.

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