Preparing for emergencies

Manchester City Council worked with its Greater Manchester local resilience forum partners to respond to the immediate aftermath of the attack, and since then has been leading work to help the city and its communities recover.

After the attack, Manchester was offered advice and support from cities across the world that had also suffered devastating acts of terrorism. Doctors in the United States even ordered takeaway pizza for their counterparts in Manchester, knowing from their experience after the Boston Marathon bomb that they would be working long hours without taking a break to eat.

In turn, we want to share our experience, so that other communities and councils can ensure they are as prepared as possible for when an emergency strikes.

This isn’t just about places that suffer terrorist attacks, although we were quick to reach out to the authorities in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year. But the evacuation in August of residents from Whaley Bridge, following concerns about the stability of the Toddbrook reservoir, was a clear reminder of the various civil emergencies to which councils and their partners may need to respond.

Emergencies can come in many different forms, with little or no notice, and we all need to be prepared.

From scrutinising your council’s preparedness to respond, being aware of your local risk register, to using local knowledge and community leadership skills to support local residents through a crisis, all councillors have an important role to play in civil resilience matters.

I’ve recently been working with the LGA on a series of civil resilience masterclasses that help councillors understand their role. The session hears from councillors who can talk through the different stages of preparation, response and recovery, based on their recent experience of responding to an emergency. If you are a new councillor, or would like a refresher on this important issue, please do come along.

The next LGA civil resilience political leadership masterclass takes place on 14 October in Durham. To book a place, please visit www.local.gov.uk/emergency-planning-and-civil-resilience-political-leadership-masterclass.

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