Tree through roof of house

What must we prepare for?

Emergencies are terrible tragedies, whether they have human and/or environmental impacts. In order for us to understand how to prepare, we must identify what to prepare for!

In the next few steps, we will start to look at risks and how we identify and assess them. Later on we look at how they are managed.

The UK’s emergencies are identified and assessed at both governmental level from the whole UK perspective, and at local government level from the perspective of geographical area. The UK Government departments look at pertinent risks to the departments with subject matter experts. This then forms something called the National Risk Register (NRR), which is brought together by the Cabinet Office, Civil Contingencies Secretariat (more on this later in the course).

This then informs Local Resilience Forums (LRF) based at police force boundaries (depending on local agreements). These forums are defined as:

‘The process of bringing together all the category 1 and 2 responders within a police force area for the purpose of facilitating co-operation in fulfilment of their duties under the Civil Contingencies Act’ Category 1 are the services that will respond to an emergency eg police, fire, ambulance, local authority, health and Environment Agency etc. Category 2 responders may also be involved in emergencies if needed. They include telecoms, utility and transport organisations etc.

They work together to produce a Community Risk Register (CRR) which is more relevant to the local risks. We will look at how these organisations plan and respond later.

Download and take a look at The National Risk Register and the Community Risk Registers – they are both very informative. We will be looking at these and the information they contain later.

The registers look at hazards and threats. These are identified through intelligence, historical emergencies experts and world events. They are then put through a risk assessment process. This identifies the likelihood and consequences of these occurring.

A hazard is defined as:

‘an accidental or naturally occurring (i.e., non-malicious) event or situation with the potential to cause death or physical or psychological harm, damage or losses to property, and/or disruption to the environment and/or to economic, social and political structures.’

We will look at these in more detail as we continue.

The likelihood of a hazard is based on statistical information from historical events. It tells us how likely it is to happen in a period of time. The definition used is:

‘The chance of something happening, whether defined, measured or estimated objectively or subjectively, or in terms of general descriptors (such as rare, unlikely, almost certain), frequencies or mathematical probabilities.’

There is nothing more locally focused than the CRR. However, local knowledge and information is a brilliant source. It is important for you to understand where else to get information, and we will consider this when starting to look at your Emergency Plan.

In preparation, take a look at this Canadian video on writing your own plan.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Although this is not a UK video, it is useful for thinking about what it is we will be doing as the course progresses.

In the next steps, we are going to ask you to think about hazards and threats closer to home.

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This article is from the free online course:

Staying Safe: How to be Prepared in the Modern World

Emergency Planning College (EPC)

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