Free event to help communities prepare for emergencies

Posted on: 5 May 2016

A free event to help communities across Devon prepare for incidents such as severe weather and flooding is being held near Exeter next week.

The interactive day, entitled ‘Becoming Resilient’, will include guest speakers, workshops, case studies and an expert question and answer panel. It’s being held on Wednesday 11 May, from 10am to 4pm, at the Kenn Centre in Kennford.

Aimed at those interested or involved in emergency and recovery planning in their community, the event will include sessions on rest centres, Devon’s snow warden scheme, emergency plan implementation, risk assessments, highway safety training, insurance and communications.

There will also be information about Devon’s ‘Community Resilience Initiatives Grant’, which offers funding to support local communities in purchasing equipment or supplies to help them be more prepared in an emergency.

The Devon Community Resilience Forum has distributed almost £30,000 across 22 Devon communities to support their resilience initiatives.

They include Exeter St Thomas Emergency Response Group who applied for funding for radios, wheelbarrows, cones and personal protection equipment for use in a variety of emergency situations.

Dave Hubbard leads the Exeter St Thomas group of volunteers. He said:

“Making sure the community you live in is prepared for any eventuality is vital.

“Local knowledge and resources are key to developing an effective emergency plan for your community, so you really do need to get involved.

“It is excellent that there is so much support available to help communities prepare. Events like this are valuable as they give you the opportunity to meet and talk to different agencies and learn how they work as well as find out what resources are available to help you develop your plan.

“Thanks to the information and advice shared by the Devon Community Resilience Forum, our volunteer group is developing an emergency plan and is getting equipped to assist with issues such as clearing snow, distributing sandbags and delivering supplies in our community.

“We now feel that when the call for help comes, we can take swift action to protect our community and ensure damage is minimise and we recover quickly.”

The event will also offer the opportunity for people to share information and advice about emergency planning, and the chance for like-minded people involved in improving their community’s resilience to exchange ideas and experiences. It’s relevant to people new to the topic as well as to those with experience.

The event is the second of its kind in Devon and is being run by the Devon Community Resilience Forum, a partnership of local authorities, emergency services, the NHS, the Environment Agency and local community groups and volunteers.

They aim to help communities with advice and support in order to prepare, respond and recover in the event of emergencies such as severe weather, flooding, major power cuts and health pandemics.

The first event was held in November last year and proved extremely popular with more than 100 representatives from town and parish councils, community groups and interested individuals taking part.

Dom Maxwell-Batten, Chair of the Devon Community Resilience Forum, said:

“Empowering our communities to be fully prepared in an emergency situation is vitally important.

“We can’t predict everything, but we can help people prepare for the worst, and have a plan in place to react and recover.

“We know that communities that have a plan cope much better in an emergency situation and recover more quickly from extreme events so we are keen to help as many communities as possible to become more resilient by developing their emergency plans.

“I would encourage anyone interested to come along to this event. It’s free, all you need to do is book your place with a quick email to info@devoncommunities.org.uk.”

Book your place by emailing info@devoncommunities.org.uk and for details of the full programme visit the Devon Communities webpage.

More information about the Devon Community Resilience Forum is available online.

Posted in: Community