As a local authority it is our role to support the emergency services in the case of a major incident. We will co-ordinate the Council's response during a major incident, together with the responders.
A major incident can arise with or without warning and can happen anywhere and at any time. Fortunately major incidents happen very infrequently. When they do happen, the size of the incident means that special arrangements are needed to help organisations work together and respond as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What is a major incident/emergency?
An emergency is defined as:-
- An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare and/or the environment; or
- War, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to security.
- Examples of major incidents include:-
- Natural disasters such as floods and storms
- Pollution i.e. spillages, radioactive substances, toxic gases
- War or terrorism
What is a Major Incident / Emergency?
An emergency is defined as:-
An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare and/or the environment; or
War, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to security.
Examples of major incidents include:-
Natural disasters such as floods and storms
Pollution i.e. spillages, radioactive substances, toxic gases
War or terrorism
Civil Contingencies Act 2004
The Civil Contingencies Act introduces new civil protection requirements on all public authorities and other agencies to work together to develop, maintain and implement effective arrangements for responding to emergency incidents, disasters, etc.
The Act will enhance existing arrangements by:
- Establishing a clear set of roles and responsibilities for local responders;
- Giving greater structure and consistency to local civil protection activity; and
- Establishing a sound basis for performance management at a local level.
The Act divides local responders into two categories depending on the extent of their involvement in civil protection work. Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response (eg emergency services, local authorities).
As a local authority we are required under the Act to:-
- Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning;
- Put in place emergency plans;
- Put in place Business Continuity Management arrangements;
- Put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency;
- Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination;
- Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency; and
- Provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations about business continuity management.
Further information on the Civil Contingencies Act can be found on the UK Resilience web site.
The Emergency Plan
The Council has Emergency Plans in place to enabling us to respond or react to any major incident.
The Council will play a key role in alleviating the effects of an emergency on the community and the environment and restoring normality as quickly as possible by:
- Liaison with the emergency services and supporting organisations;
- The involvement, either directly or indirectly, of appropriate personnel;
- Handling the large number of enquiries likely to be generated both from the public and the media;
- Working closely with the emergency services, Staffordshire County Council, voluntary organisations, private industry and other organisations responding to an incident, to ensure that there is an efficient and coordinated response.
What you can do to prepare for an emergency?
The Government has produced a web page which tells you how you can help yourself and your family in emergencies. The page can be found on the direct.gov website or by following this link.
What is Cannock Chase Council doing
Many of the basic elements of the Act have been in place in Staffordshire for some years and we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure the response to emergencies is effective, efficient and well coordinated.
The Council has emergency plans in place and is involved with the production of the Community Risk Register, which can be viewed on the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service web site using the following link - Staffordshire Community Risk Register.
- HM Government Preparing for Emergencies - What You Need to Know
A Short Guide to the Civil Contingencies Act
Environment Agency - Flood warnings
How to prepare for an Emergency
• Make a list of important contact details, such as family, friends, neighbours, GP, veterinary surgery, public utility companies etc.
• Familiarise yourself with emergency procedures both at work and for children at school.
• Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies.
• Know how to tune your radio to local stations.
• Know how your family will stay in contact in the event of an emergency.
• Make up an emergency pack
Home Emergency Pack
Try to keep enough of the following in your household at all times to last at least two days:
• Lighting (torch/candles) and spare source of power (batteries etc) or wind-up torch.
• Cooking equipment (including tin-opener, utensils and cutlery).
• Drink (cans of juice, bottled water etc).
• Long life food and milk - Items that can easily be consumed such as ready to eat meats, canned fruits, crackers, cereal bars or biscuits. Check use by date and replace when necessary.)
• Portable radio and spare batteries or wind up radio.
• First Aid Kit - Include items such as assorted bandages, cleansing agents, pain relief tablets. Remember prescription medication.
• Contact list
• Warm / Dry clothing and blankets.
• Personal hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, feminine supplies
• Medication (including baby items).
• Entertainment items such as board games or books
Useful numbers to make a list of and put in your emergency pack
• Insurance Company
In the Car:
These could vary depending on the time of the year, but could include items such as:
• First Aid Kit.
• Bottled Water.
• Torch with spare batteries.
• In car mobile telephone charger
• Sweets or long life snacks
• Blanket, warm clothing and woolly hat
• Spare socks and gloves
• Waterproof clothing and Wellington boots.
Have you added "ICE" to your Mobile?
ICE = 'In Case of Emergency'
Storing 'ICE' along with a name and telephone number will enable emergency services to quickly contact someone for you in the event of an emergency.
Eight out of ten people in the UK don't carry next of kin details yet 80% carry a mobile phone, most of whom have it with them all the time. There is no simpler way of letting the emergency services know who to contact should you be involved in an accident than by using ICE.
If you are involved in an emergency
If you find yourself in an emergency - use common sense and your instincts. Do not put yourself or anybody else in danger. If emergency services are at the scene follow their advice and try to remain calm.
It is however important to:
• Make sure 999 has been called
• Try and remain calm
• Speak clearly
• Tell the operator which service you require
• Tell the Emergency Service
• Where the trouble is
• What the trouble is
• Where you are
Do not hang up until the operator tells you to do so
If there is a medical emergency, you may be given medical instructions that can help the patient Remember, 999 is free from any pay phone and mobile phone.
If you accidentally dial 999 STAY ON THE LINE and tell the operator what happened. Emergency operators treat unknown 999 calls as potential emergencies in progress requiring immediate response.
Please be sure that everyone in your home knows how to dial 999 - to report an emergency and be sure all children know that they should not dial 999 as a joke. Ensure you do not put yourself in danger. Check for injuries. Follow the advice of the emergency services.
If an incident occurs within close proximity you should:
Go inside a safe building and stay there until you are advised to do otherwise.
Tune into local TV or radio for situation updates.
Go in, Stay in and Tune in.
Be aware of how to get information in the event of an emergency.
In the case of most major emergencies the simple advice to follow is to go inside, stay inside and tune into the local radio.
With most incidents the safest place to be is indoors, with the correct preparation you should be able to stay there safely for some time (remember in the case of a fire in a building - get out and stay out).
If you are close to an emergency and believe you or others are in danger go inside a safe building (as long as you are sure there is no fire risk) and stay there until advised otherwise. Tune into local radio and television for updates on what is happening.
Local and national radio stations work together to make sure they can give out accurate and up to date information to keep people fully informed on what to do if there is a major incident.
Radio is easily accessible.
You can listen to it in the car and as long as you have a battery powered or wind-up radio you can still listen even if there is a power cut. Warning messages are categorised as below.
Threat - is used when describing the general need for alertness.
Alert - is used where there is a need for particular vigilance and readiness by the public to take specific action.
Warning - is reserved for occasions where when there is specific intelligence about a time and place, when the police need to take action to protect people.
Local radio stations:
The FM frequencies are shown below for some of the more common radio stations serving the are
89.1 BBC Radio 2
91.3 BBC Radio 3
93.5 BBC Radio 4
FM 94.6 (Stoke-on-Trent)
FM 104.1 (Stafford, Staffordshire)
AM 1503 (Staffordshire)
FM 101.6 (Lichfield and Tamworth, Staffordshire)
FM 102.4 (Burton-on-Trent)
Children at school during an emergency
Naturally, if children are at school and there is a major incident, you will probably want to collect them as soon as possible. However, it may not be safe to do so.
You are advised to tune into the local radio who will be issuing details and arrangements local schools have made for the collection of children.
You're not at home - If you have children at school you will want to pick them up, however it may not be safe to do so. Tune into the local radio for advice and what arrangements have been made for collecting your children.
All schools have plans in place for dealing with emergencies and teachers and support staff will do what they can to look after the children in their care.
What is it?
Many of us have heard the term Pandemic Flu but how many understand what it means? Pandemic flu can occur when a new influenza virus emerges which is distinctly different from recently circulating strains and to which humans have little or no immunity. Due to this lack of immunity the virus is able to:
• infect more humans over a large geographical area;
• spread rapidly and efficiently from person to person;
• cause clinical illness in a proportion of those infected.
It is easily passed from person to person when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. It can also spread through hand/face contact after touching anything that may become contaminated with the virus.
It is highly likely that another influenza pandemic will occur at some time; however it is impossible to forecast its exact timing or the precise nature of its impact. This uncertainty is one of the main challenges for policy makers and planners.
Even if - as seems likely - a pandemic originates abroad, it will probably affect the UK within 2 to 4 weeks of becoming an epidemic in its country of origin, and could then take only 1 or 2 more weeks to spread to all major population centres in the UK. Influenza pandemics therefore pose a unique international and national challenge.
Based on historical patterns, pandemics are expected to occur on average three or four times each century. Three pandemics occurred in the twentieth century ('Hong Kong' flu in 1968 - 1969, 'Asian' flu 1957 - 1958 and 'Spanish' flu in 1918 - 1919) and the first one is estimated to have caused 20 - 40 million deaths worldwide.
There are indications that the pandemics started initially as avian flu and developed into human flu.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are similar to 'ordinary' flu but may be more severe: characteristically sudden onset of fever, headache, severe weakness and fatigue, aching muscles and joints and respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Complications include bronchitis and pneumonia; deaths can occur.
What can we do to stop it?
Good hygiene practice (both hand and respiratory) will have a major role to play in slowing the spread of pandemic influenza and we hope that by getting staff and the public into good habits now, we will be well prepared to respond when a pandemic arrives. In the meantime, it should have a positive impact on the spread of seasonal influenza and other diseases.
Where can I find more information? www.staffordshireprepared.gov.uk
Over 5.5 million properties in England and Wales are at risk of flooding from rivers, seas or surface water. That's one in six, which means there's a high chance one of these properties is your home or business.
It pays to prepare for flooding - if your home or business is flooded it can be costly, not just in terms of money and time but also inconvenience and heartache. While it's impossible to completely flood-proof a property, there are lots of things you can do to reduce the damage flooding can cause. The key is to act now so you're prepared if there's a flood in your area.
Please click on the following links for information from the Environment Agency around flooding and what you can do to help yourself.
If you need any further advice or information then you can contact the Risk & Resilience team at Cannock Chase Council, PO Box 28, Beecroft Road, Cannock, Staffs. WS11 1BG or email email@example.com or call 01543 464546.
Flooding - Flood Warnings
The Environment Agency monitors water levels in major rivers and issues flood warnings to properties at high risk, Local Authorities and the Emergency Services when flooding is expected
Warnings are sent using a telephoned pre-recorded message system. Where a flood warden scheme exists, the volunteer warden receives the warning and passes it on to his/her group. Local radio stations also receive warnings.
Updates on the progress of significant floods on a river by river basis are available to all through the Environment Agency's Floodline telephone service (tel. 0845 988 1188).
Flooding - Flash Flooding
Flash flooding occurs when the drainage infrastructure is overwhelmed as a result of intense rainfall in the locality.
Flash flooding is a local event which develops rapidly and cannot be predicted with any reliability through weather forecasting. Each event is sensitive to prevailing local conditions which govern its extent, severity and duration. No system of flood warning for flash flooding exists, principally because the periods of warning that could be given would be too short to be of any significant practical use.
Flash flooding is occurring more frequently for a number of reasons, including:-
- Changes in land use which concentrate run-off
- Poor maintenance of ditches, drains, streams and culverts
- Changes in weather patterns
Flooding - Flood Defence
For fluvial flooding, the Environment Agency and Local Authorities can carry out flood defence work where appropriate to reduce the incidence and severity of flood events.
Flash flooding is much harder to defend against. Local Authorities and Water Companies try to ensure that sewerage in their control is kept clear of blockages and that riparian owners maintain streams and ditches.
If you have a water course that flows through or beside your property then you are a riparian owner.
Note- Riparian Ownership
Who is a Riparian Owner?
• Under common law you are the riparian owner of any watercourse within or adjacent to the boundaries of your property.
• Where a watercourse is sited between two or more property boundaries each owner may be equally responsible.
Flooding - Sandbags
You can buy unfilled sandbags and a supply of sand from most DIY stores and builders merchants.
It is the responsibility of property owners to take appropriate action to protect their property from flooding, remember during a flood crisis there may be limited stocks of sandbags and supply routes may get blocked.
If using sandbags, a large sheet of heavy duty plastic between them and the wall of your house makes a better defence than sandbags alone.
Do not forget that water will come through air bricks if they are not covered.
A number of firms sell flood shields which can be fitted to doors and air bricks. These are quite expensive but effective. However, neither these or sandbags will prevent underground seepage which may lead to flooding from below.
For more information visit the Environment Agency
Incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60 (24hrs)
Floodline: 0845 988 1188
Flooding - Insurance
It is important to seek the best possible insurance cover for your home and its contents NOW, it is too late after a flood.
In some cases, people have recently been refused flood re-insurance. If this has happened to you, it may be worth discussing a flood shield system with your insurers, as fitting this may make them more willing to consider insuring your home.
Last Updated: 25/08/2016