Council and community get together to prepare for a crisis

The H&F community is coming together to find out how it can help during an emergency, as part of a ground-breaking community collaboration.

Recent events across the capital have shown how important it is to have a well-rehearsed emergency plan. The difference in H&F is that those plans are now being extended beyond the traditional emergency services, to include community organisations, residents’ groups and local businesses.

As part of those plans, we are holding a training day for ‘community responders’. The event will make sure everyone knows their role in a crisis, and how best to work together, whether it’s in co-ordinating volunteers and donations, opening up community halls or providing interpreters or transport.

At the event, we’ll be setting up a rest centre and showing how cordons work – like those successfully used in the response to September’s Parsons Green terror attack.

During the day, members of our community network will be able to look around one of the London Fire Brigade’s Command and Control vehicles so they can see how useful they are in an emergency. They will also be able to look inside H&F Council’s CCTV room and learn about flooding from the Environment Agency.

This pioneering drive to involve local people is central to how H&F Council is changing the way it works – doing things with residents, rather than to them.

It all started with a community ‘hackathon’ on emergency planning last year. Attended by more than a hundred community representatives, the brainstorming event was the first step in developing a shared emergency plan with local organisations.

That led to the creation of a community extranet – a secure emergency response website where community groups can quickly connect with each other to share information and offer support.

This training event will support those volunteering as community responders to understand how to best put that planning into action.

Other councils are now taking a keen interest in how we are empowering the community to play a more vital role in emergency situations.

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