Emergency Plan reviewed

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News release: 17 July 2017

Responses to major emergencies in the St Albans District in recent years have been “efficient and effective”, Councillors have been told.

Emergency Plan
A number of incidents have tested St Albans City and District Council’s procedures for dealing with unexpected events.

These have included the sudden emergence of a sink hole in a residential street in October 2015 that left several families homeless.

There have also been occasional floods and fires that have resulted in the evacuation of properties.

A report into the Council’s Emergency Planning says the feedback received indicated that the response had been “efficient and effective”.

The update was given to a meeting of the Council’s Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on Thursday 13 July.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, the Committee’s Chair, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire has highlighted the vital importance of good emergency planning by local authorities.

“Fortunately, this District has not experienced a tragedy of that magnitude.  However, the Committee felt it important to review the Council’s emergency planning procedures at the earliest opportunity. 

“The sink hole, for example, was declared a major incident because it left many families suddenly homeless in the middle of the night. There has also been flooding and fires to contend with.

“Internal reviews have shown the Council’s actions have been effective. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to become complacent and there needs to be regular monitoring of this area of responsibility. This Committee will continue to do that.”

Under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), local authorities are required to assess the risk of emergencies and put in place emergency plans.

This includes working with other agencies such as the police, fire service, the NHS, utility companies and Red Cross through Local Resilience Forums (LRF). Hertfordshire County Council co-ordinates the LRF that the Council is involved with 

The Council has a Business Continuity Plan which sets out how it would restore services in the wake of a significant disruption.

There is also an Emergency Planning Officer who is responsible for helping to train staff and for co-ordinating emergency plans. 

Senior officers have also been given set roles in the event of an emergency while other staff have volunteered for specific tasks.

One of the Council’s main roles is providing reception centres to shelter people who have had to leave their homes. 

Several buildings, including the Alban Arena, have been designated for this purposed with some staff and other volunteers trained to run them.

A recent initiative is the setting up of a group of volunteer flood wardens in London Colney where there have been several flood alerts.

Councillor contact:
Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 07761-232064 Email: anthonyrowlands@hotmail.com

Contact for the media:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 296130