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Emergency preparedness in the UK

Now we will investigate further the role of national preparedness frameworks in developing resilient emergency plans.

In his book, Emergency Planning, Crisis and Disaster Management, Dillon provides an interpretation of the civil contingencies approach to emergency preparedness (2014). He focuses on:

  • Integrated emergency planning;
  • Measuring risk; and
  • Preparation response and recovery.

This approach is captured in the UK concept of operations or CONOPS (Cabinet Office 2010).

Read Chapter 1 of the guidance accompanying the UK Civil Contingencies Act (Cabinet Office 2011) available from the gov.uk website. This provides a good summary of the UK approach to emergency preparedness.

Your task

In 2015, Storm Desmond caused severe flooding and widespread travel disruption. Read the article and watch the videos about the flooding in Cumbria (BBC 2015) (available from the BBC News website).

Consider how the UK arrangements, described by the section of the guidance accompanying the Civil Contingencies Act you have read, would be applied to this emergency.

Based on the framework, who would be responsible and how would the response be coordinated?


Cabinet Office. (2010) UK Central Government Arrangements for Responding to an Emergency [online] available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/60816/conops-2010-overview.pdf [11 May 2018]

Cabinet Office. (2011) Emergency Preparedness [online] available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/61024/Chapter-1-Introduction_amends_16042012.pdf [11 May 2018]

Dillon, B. (2014) Blackstone’s Emergency Planning, Crisis and Disaster Management. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press

British Broadcasting Corporation (2015) Storm Desmond: Homes flooded and thousands without power [online] available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35019021 [11 May 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Coventry University