Villagers prepare emergency plans

Council agrees to draw up plans for emergency response.

Council agrees to draw up plans for emergency response. - Credit: Archant

RESIDENTS in Backwell are preparing to draw up a community resilience plan to set out how they would respond during emergency situations.

North Somerset Council is asking town and parish councils to devise their own proposals and recruit volunteers to help people cope during emergencies such as power failures, pandemics, accidents and severe weather.

The plan is about harnessing local resources and expertise which will complement emergency services and hopefully save more lives should a large disaster occur.

Addressing Backwell Parish Council at its meeting on February 7, Councillor Hilary Power said: “What would happen if we had major flooding, a major accident or if a train came off the tracks?

“People need to know who to contact if they want to make the village hall into a refreshment area or who might need help if people need to be evacuated. If we have a plan sorted with a point of contact and one place to go, it would go more smoothly.”

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The first step is detailing the risks the community might face so members can prepare a response to the different scenarios.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “The aim is to establish informed, risk aware, self-reliant communities that are capable of independently sustaining their community or complementing the work of emergency responders during localised or major events.”

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The council hopes to establish a district-wide network of community resilience volunteers, who will be trained for the task.

Each community team will be managed by a team leader and area co-ordinator.

Volunteers can sign up for roles in flooding, evacuation and shelter, transport, safety, welfare or emergency feeding and more details can be found on North Somerset Council’s website.

District councillor for Backwell Geoff Coombs said: “I’m very keen to support this initiative. In the past North Somerset has been responsible for this, without fully engaging communities.

“We hope that it will never be called upon, but if any major incidents occur on the railway, or at the airport, the surrounding communities would be absolutely crucial to mobilise facilities and co-ordination.”

The council agreed to set up a working party to begin drawing up a community resilience plan for Backwell.

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