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Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. Small-scale incidents occur frequently and are dealt with effectively by the emergency services.
However, more rarely, major emergencies can occur which require a response beyond the day-to-day resources of the emergency services. This is when special arrangements are put in place and other organisations, including the borough council, help to support the emergency services.
Tewkesbury Borough Council is part of Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and works closely with others to fulfill our responsibilities and ensure that there is an efficient an coordinated response to a major emergency. We work with:
The emergency services.
Gloucestershire County Council.
Other district councils in Gloucestershire.
Other statutory agencies.
You can find out more about emergency planning in Gloucestershire on the Local Resilience Forum website.
The council’s role
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places responsibilities on the borough council to make plans and train staff to respond to any major emergency affecting the borough. The borough council must also provide support and care to local people and get things back to normal as soon as possible, assisting with the long-term recovery of the community.
Some of our main roles include:
Making sure our services continue to run as well as possible.
Arranging accommodation such as rest centres for people made temporarily homeless by an emergency.
Providing information and advice to the public.
Assisting other organisations with their response.
Emergency response plans
Tewkesbury Borough Council has a number of emergency plans in place, including specific plans for flooding and establishing rest centres. Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum also has numerous plans for the multi-agency response to different emergencies.
What can residents do to prepare for emergencies?
Are you ready?
We all have a part to play in preparing for emergencies. The ‘Are you Ready Booklet’ brings together advice from various organisations to help you take simple steps to reduce risk and prepare for emergencies such as fire, flood and loss of power.
Household emergency plan
A simple household emergency plan will help keep most of the information you may need in an emergency in one place which is easily accessible by you and others in your household. There is a template on the Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum website.
In an emergency situation you may need to move quickly, so it’s important to have a few necessities to hand. Ideally, prepare a small easy-to-carry bag with essentials and store it in an accessible place ready to go. At the very least, have an up-to-date checklist for things to put into your emergency “grab bag”. Suggestions of what to put in an emergency kit cab be found on Gloucestershire County Council’s website.
In an emergency
In an emergency, we all need to cooperate with the emergency services. Listen to the advice given out on the radio or television and look at information posted on the borough council’s website and its social media channels.
Information on flooding emergencies is available at www.tewkesbury.gov.uk/flooding.
Priority services register
If you, or a member of your household, is vulnerable you may be eligible to register for utility company ‘Priority Services Register’ to be offered extra help and priority treatment during an incident.
Anyone who is eligible for the Priority Services Register will need to register separately with water, electricity and gas network providers using the links below:
What can communities do to help themselves?
Whilst every effort will be made by emergency responders to help a community during an incident, unfortunately resources may be stretched or some time away. Community resilience is about communities and individuals harnessing local knowledge, expertise and resources to complement the response of the authorities.
Tewkesbury Borough Council has been encouraging communities to develop a simple community emergency plan to help prepare for emergencies. Community emergency plan templates and tool kits are available on Gloucestershire Rural Community Council and Gloucestershire County Council websites.
To check if your community has a community emergency plan, or if you want to be involved in developing a plan for your community, please contact Helen Richards, Environment Lead at Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC), a charity who champion community action in Gloucestershire. Email: email@example.com or call 01452 528491 extension: 222.
Is your business prepared for the unexpected?
Even a small disruption such as a power cut can affect the normal operation of an organisation. Experience shows that organisations with business continuity arrangements in place are more likely to stay in business and recover quickly in the event of an emergency than those who do not.
There are some small steps that you could take to increase the chances of your business surviving a disruption. Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum website provides advice and guidance about developing a business continuity plan.
If a major emergency happened in the borough, the emergency services may make the decision to evacuate particular areas as a precaution. Special arrangements will be made for sick, frail or disabled residents.
If the police or fire and rescue service ask you to leave your home, please cooperate and do so. They will only ask you to leave if it is essential for your own safety.
If there is time:
Take any medication, warm clothes and special foods if you have dietary requirements.
Make sure fires are out and switch of your gas and electricity.
Close windows and doors and leave your property secure.
If you have elderly or disabled neighbours, check that they are alright or tell the emergency services.
People who are evacuated may initially be taken to a temporary place of safety (such as a village hall or public house). If there are a significant number of evacuees, the council will open up a rest centre.
Rest centres are usually set up in leisure centres, schools or community halls and provide a safe shelter until people are allowed to return to their homes or are provided with temporary accommodation. Council staff, assisted by trained volunteers, will manage the rest centre and look after the needs of people there.