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How to prepare for an emergency

How to prepare for an emergency

Read our advice booklet

The chances of you being caught up in a major incident or emergency are rare but they do happen. Read the are you ready? emergency planning booklet (PDF document) for advice to help you prepare for, and respond to, an emergency. Visit the Gov.uk website to read more about dealing with emergencies.

Create an emergency plan

The best way to protect your family from the effects of an emergency is to have an emergency plan. You can print out our are you ready? emergency planning booklet (PDF document) and use it as a template for your emergency plan.

Remember to include your pets

If you are a pet owner your emergency plan must include your pets. If you must evacuate in the event of an emergency, you must evacuate your pets as well. Ensure that you have a strong carrier, made of wire mesh or plastic, for each pet. Some emergency shelters can't accept pets and it may be difficult to find shelter for your animals, so plan ahead. Don't wait until an emergency hits to do your research. Read our what to do in an emergency page for advice about evacuation.

Create a business continuity plan

Severe weather, staff absence, fires, floods, vandalism etc. can cause big disruptions to business operations. A business continuity plan can help prevent operational interruptions so that you can quickly return to 'business as usual'. Once it has been prepared the business continuity plan must be tested and your staff must be trained to use it. Business continuity training courses are available from the Emergency Planning College website.

Read the Business Continuity Management Toolkit on the Gov.uk website for help with writing your plan. Start by identifying any local risks. Conduct an impact analysis to highlight the key areas to focus on. Consider risk mitigation using the 4 t's:  terminate, threat, transfer, tolerate:

  • Terminate - can you terminate the business activity?
  • Threat - can you reduce the risk?
  • Transfer - can you insure against the risk or outsource that aspect of the business?
  • Tolerate - continue with the business activity and prepare a plan to minimise any impact to it  

Create an emergency community plan

Communities are encouraged to have a local plan to help support their community during an emergency.

What is a community emergency plan?

A community emergency plan is a document which identifies local resources and sets out a structure to follow in response to an incident. It provides guidance on how a community could respond to an emergency whilst awaiting the assistance of the Council and Emergency Services.

Why have a community emergency plan? 

The community emergency plan will help each community in Wokingham to prepare for, and respond to, an emergency. Communities are encouraged to produce their own emergency plan so they can be prepared and know what to do during an emergency. Having an emergency plan helps individuals to be aware of what they can do to reduce risk and helps reduce the impact of an emergency on a community. It prepares a community to cope with an emergency. By planning and preparing, your community helps to raise awareness and helps coordinate the local response. 

Who is responsible for making a community emergency plan?

Parish Councils, or interested local groups such as Neighbourhood Action Groups or Flood Groups are best placed to prepare community emergency plans. There is no legal requirement to prepare an emergency plan, but it helps the Emergency Services and the Council, if the community is prepared.

Need help?

Email us at:  community.resilience@wokingham.gov.ukor call us on: 0118 974 6473 for help or advice.

During a major incident, the emergency services and local authority may call upon voluntary organisations to assist in the response. The Berkshire Emergency Support Group (ESOG) was set up to ensure good practice and working relationships within Berkshire. The group meets to discuss plans and how they may be able to support the local community in an emergency. Members of ESOG include:

  • Berkshire local councils
  • British Red Cross
  • South Central Ambulance Service
  • Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue
  • Hampshire and Berkshire 4 x 4 Response
  • SEBEV (South East Berkshire Emergency Volunteers)
  • St John Ambulance
  • RAYNET (Radio Amateurs Emergency Network)
  • RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
  • Thames Valley Police (also representing Berkshire religious groups)
  • Royal Voluntary Service

The ESOG policy document outlines what the voluntary organisations can offer in terms of staff, services, equipment and skills in the event of an incident in Berkshire.

Plans are prepared to address risks in the area. We have a  major incident plan (PDF document) that can be updated to meet any situation. We supplement this response plan with specific emergency plans. Once we've prepared a plan, we identify staff who will play a role in that plan. We organise training, exercises and events to ensure that council staff and partner agencies are ready to respond.

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