What you should take away from the Wales Emergency Planning Conference

This year’s 2018 Welsh Branch Emergency Planning Society Conference covered the subject of ‘Constructing Emergency Plans’. Shelley Evans, Senior Resilience Analyst, gives us a rundown of the key things to take away from the event.

The aim of the conference was for delegates to explore the different types of emergency plans such as:

  • Flood response plans
  • COMAH Onsite and Offsite emergency plans
  • CBRN Onsite and Offsite emergency plans
  • Community health and social care emergency plans
  • Coastguard operational emergency plans.

Discussions focussed on:

  • How emergency plans can go wrong when they are not regularly tested.
  • The importance of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP) which was created to improve the way the Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services work together when responding to major multi-agency emergency incidents.
  • Developing flood response plans, which was presented by our very own Sara Lane, from our Newport office.

The conference also covered the rights and wrongs of exercising emergency plans, best practice, communicating plans through different social media platforms and lessons learnt.

What were the take home messages?

  • The importance of engaging and networking with the people who will use the plan, as the plan is written for them (and not for the people writing the plan!)
  • Different people have different perspectives on developing emergency plans; all perspectives should be taken into consideration.
  • The plan must be known by the people using it and exercised regularly. This is the only way to identify critical gaps and to ensure the plan works.
  • If there is a back-up ‘Emergency Plan B’ this must also be tested/exercised…or how is its fitness-for-purpose ensured?!
  • JESIP was created to ensure that the Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’. Now JESIP is about all responders, not just Police, Fire and Rescue and Ambulance services. The JESIP model is integrated into all ways of working and into all policies and procedures for emergency responders, to ensure that all staff use JESIP as a matter of course.
  • Having an effective tested emergency plan in place is all about preparedness. Plans allow all those impacted by an emergency to respond in an organised structured manner when under pressure.
  • Emergency plans can be embedded with ongoing and incremental training, rehearsed through validation exercises, with debriefs and evaluations identifying how those plans can be improved.

Remember, developing an emergency plan is only the first step to preparedness. The people responsible for enacting them should be trained and exercised, and this process evaluated as a part of a continuous cycle.

Want to know more?

Our experienced emergency planning and resilience team includes those who bring real-life experience of responding to major flooding and environmental incidents, as well as extensive experience in planning, designing and delivering training and flood exercising for a range of Category 1 and 2 responders.

Email Phil Emonson, Flood Resilience Lead, for more information or visit our flood emergency planning web page.

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