Emergencies cover a range of situations, including events such as fires, transport accidents or terrorist attacks, less sudden impact events such as foot and mouth or a fuel crisis, and ‘anticipated’ events which can be planned for, for example, industrial accidents or flooding.
Events such as a large fire or widespread flooding will require an immediate emergency response in order to help keep people safe and reduce the risk to the wider community. This is usually the job of the blue light agencies who deal with this as their day job. When an emergency situation worsens and a single agency cannot meet the demand from its own resources or is of such a scale or complexity where more agencies need to get involved to provide resources to support the response then it may be declared a major incident.
Sometimes this can happen with no warning such as a gas explosion or industrial fire or it can be as a result of a worsening situation over time such as severe weather or public health issues such as the COVID pandemic that started in 2020. Either way district and county council partners plan and train together for an emergency response. This is known as Emergency Planning.
The main responsibility for local authorities in any emergency or major incident is humanitarian assistance and welfare of our communities including public health needs. Together districts and county local authorities are also lead for coordinating recovery efforts.