Safe evacuation – tall buildings, tower blocks: why Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans and Emergency Preparedness tools are essential

This continues the series on safe evacuation: what exactly does safe self-evacuation look like and on mass evacuation.

Skyscrapers, tall buildings, tower blocks – they’re not the same in many respects1 . Each fire is unique. Yet here I generalize, looking at it from a residents or visitors perspective which is not so different both today and in the past. The basic impact on people is the same: they need to

GET OUT – STAY OUT – CALL FOR HELP

…and be able to receive it in a timely and effective manner…

Are you a resident or visitor to tall buildings? Then knowing (not assuming you know!) the buildings (and your own!) fire plan and safe evacuation procedure is key ….

… for consequences can be tragic as illustrated by the UK’s worst tower block fire  2013, Lakanal House in Camberwell which was caused by a faulty television set killing six people. A few years later a faulty tumble dryer caused a massive blaze in another tall building, this time in Shepherd’s Bush:

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt thanks to the quick action by the Fire and Rescue Services and campaigns are underway to identify hazardous goods and pull them off the market. Yet more could be done and that’s where promoting Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans and having the right preparedness tools comes in. This affects not just London; tall buildings are many in the UK and with many more to come.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans and Preparedness Tools make a lot of sense

Did you know that there are a lot of useful free templates out there that you can use to develop your own Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan? In the UK, by law such so called PEEPs must be issued by employers2  but they are equally useful irrespective of dis/ability.  Evacuation may happen because of security issues as well as ‘natural’ causes but for the moment let’s stay with the fire safety theme.

Picture yourself on the 14th floor (or make that 42nd floor if you want or need to notch it up), there is a rapidly spreading fire and you must get to a place of safety but can’t take any lifts, there is smoke, alarms and sirens are going off and there are lots of other people (family, friends, neighbours, strangers), chaos and panic.

What are you going to do? How are you going to get out from a tall building and what do you need to do so safely?

Can you simply walk out or would an evacuation chair or a so called Patient Transport  Evacuation Sheet be useful? A home emergency kit  or so called GoBag you take with you is a good idea as is having a basic Home Fire Safety Pack as a minimum. Specialised first aid for burns is another key topic you will want to look at as it is not usually included in ‘regular’ first aid.  Don’t go overboard though and match the tools you chose to the skill set you have. Upgrading your first aid training is highly recommended as is actually practising your personal emergency evacuation plan.

TallBuildingEvacuation_EVAQ8

Dry runs are not only fun, but help you prepare in a very active way, showing you what works and what needs improving. After all, your life may depend on it. Emergency Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder and a race where all win. Start today!

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by.

Monika

For more Resilience Blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency+Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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1 terminology varies widely all depending on who you ask.  For example, the Emporis Standards Committee,, a leading database for building information worldwide, defines a high rise building as a multi-story structure between 35-100 meters tall and a skyscraper as a multi-story building with an architectural height of at least 100m. A tower block on the other hand can simply be a ‘tall modern building containing numerous floors of offices or flats according to the Cambridge English Dictionary Neither what happens to the underground portion of tall buildings nor the multi-purpose nature of many modern tall buildings and the respective challenges this produces  is  touched upon

2 if their Fire Safety and Health and Safety assessments have identified persons with special needs under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

 

 

Emergency Preparedness and Resilience QUOTES | inspirational series 2

Inspirational and motivational quotes can bring about positive behaviour change.

Concerning the need for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, this can be a life saver!

That is why I and my team choose inspirational and motivational quotes as one amongst a number of strategies (i.e. Emergency Preparedness Cartoons, 30days30waysUK) to raise awareness for emergency and disaster preparedness in the UK; i.e. via this blog and on social media such as twitter @EVAQ8_news and facebook @EVAQ8.co.uk

Relevant social media hashtags are i.e. #ResilienceQuotes #PreparednessQuotes #PreparedPics #MondayMotivation, #InspirationTuesday, #ThurdayThoughts …

We thought it handy to put our quotescollection so far in on place so here it is below. Series 1 has 16 emergency preparedness and resilience quotes; this series 2 has another 15 resilience quotes. Enjoy browsing and feel free to leave us a comment. Any personal favourites?

Monika

If you’re new to Emergency Preparedness, start at the Preparedness Hub. For more Resilience Blog use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation; and remember follow us on social media for much more.

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

17 Prepare for the unknown by studying how others have coped with the unforeseen and unpredicted in the past (attributed to General G.S. Patton)
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others have coped with the unforeseen and unpredicted in the past (attributed to General G.S. Patton) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
18 Today is an opportunity to get better prepared and resilient. Don’t waste it. (anon)
oday is an opportunity to get better prepared and resilient. Don't waste it. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
19 No one is born prepared but every day you can make a little progress. Focus, learn a new skill, get the right tools – make a difference. (anon)
No one is born prepared but every day you can make a little progress. Focus, learn a new skill, get the right tools - make a difference. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
20 Preparedness is like breathing. If you don’t, you perish. (anon)
Preparedness is like breathing. If you don't, you perish. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
21 Ready are you? What know you of ready? (Yoda, Star Wars character)
Ready are you? What know you of ready? (Yoda, Star Wars character) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
22 Better to have and not need than to need and not have. (Franz Kafka, writer)
Better to have and not need than to need and not have. (Franz Kafka, writer) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
23 Worrying about the past or the future isn’t productive. Getting better prepared is. (anon)
Worrying about the past or the future isn't productive. Getting better prepared is. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
24 Make preparations in advance – you never have trouble if you are prepared for it (Theodore Roosevelt, American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer)
Make preparations in advance - you never have trouble if you are prepared for it (Theodore Roosevelt, American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
25 Prepare today – thrive tomorrow. (anon)
Prepare today - thrive tomorrow. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
26 A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. (Proverbs 27:12)
A prudent person forsees the danger ahead and takes precautions. (Proverbs 27:12) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
27 Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. (Daryn Kagan, American broadcast journalist)
Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. (Daryn Kagan, American broadcast journalist) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
28 Because you never know when the day before is the day before. Prepare for tomorrow. (Bobby Akart, author)
Because you never know when the day before is the day before. Prepare for tomorrow. (Bobby Akart, author) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
29 Preparedness is a race we can all win (anon)
Preparedness is a race we can all win (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
30 In fair weather prepare for foul. (Thomas Fuller, English churchman and historian)
In fair weather prepare for foul. (Thomas Fuller, English churchman and historian) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
31 Let us not go over the old ground – let us rather prepare for what is to come. (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer)
Let us not go over the old ground - let us rather prepare for what is to come. (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

That’s it so far :-) Thirty-one Preparedness and Resilience quotes, one for every day. We hope you enjoyed the collection.

For more Resilience Blog use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency+Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub.

If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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Emergency Preparedness and Resilience QUOTES | inspirational series 1

Inspirational and motivational quotes can bring about positive behaviour change. Concerning the need for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, this can be a life saver!

That is why I and my team choose inspirational and motivational quotes as one amongst a number of strategies (i.e. Emergency Preparedness Cartoons, 30days30waysUK) to raise awareness for emergency and disaster preparedness in the UK; i.e. via this blog and on social media such as twitter @EVAQ8_news and facebook @EVAQ8.co.uk

Relevant social media hashtags are i.e. #ResilienceQuotes #PreparednessQuotes #PreparedPics #MondayMotivation, #InspirationTuesday, #ThurdayThoughts …

We thought it handy to put the collection so far in on place so here it is below. Series 1 has 16 emergency preparedness and resilience quotes; series 2 has another 15 resilience quotes so far. Enjoy browsing and feel free to leave us a comment. Any personal favourites?

Monika

If you’re new to Emergency Preparedness, start at the Preparedness Hub. For more Resilience Blog use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation; and remember follow us on social media for much more.

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube

01 Preparedness is the calm before, during and after the storm. (anon)
Preparedness is the calm before, during and after the storm. (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
02 Every person who prepares is one less person who panics in a crisis. (attributed to Mike Adamson, British Red Cross)
Every person who prepares is one less person who panics in a crisis. (attributed to Mike Adamson, British Red Cross) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

03 Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder. (Vince Lombardi, American football legend)Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder. (Vince Lombardi, American football legend) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

04 By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. (Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States)By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. (Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

05 Private sector preparedness is not a luxury, it is a cost of doing business in the post 9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money and national security.” (The 9/11 Commission Report | Business Preparedness, Security)

Private sector preparedness is not a luxury, it is a cost of doing business in the post 9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money and national security.

 

06 The future belongs to those who prepare for it. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet)The future belongs to those who prepare for it. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

07 There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you are prepared for the worst. (Stephen King, author)There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you are prepared for the worst. (Stephen King, author) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

08 Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent (anon)Prepare and prevent, don't repair and repent (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

09 Winter is coming… (Ned Stark, Game of Thrones Character) Winter is coming... (Ned Stark, Game of Thrones Character) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

10 Resilience is a culture of preparedness (attributed to the Center for Strategic & International Studies)Resilience is a culture of preparedness (attributed to the Center for Strategic & International Studies) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

11 Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy (Max Mayfield, meteorologist and director of the National Hurricane Center)Preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy (Max Mayfield, meteorologist and director of the National Hurricane Center)

 

12 Always be prepared, expect the unexpected (anon)Always be prepared, expect the unexpected (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

13 Optimism bias is a well known psychological phenomenon that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. Don’t be fooled – be prepared.Optimism bias is a well known psychological phenomenon that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. Don't be fooled - be prepared. (psychology) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

14 Preparedness substitutes negative feelings, fear and depression with positive actions for a more secure future (anon)Preparedness substitutes negative feelings, fear and depression with positive actions for a more secure future (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

 

15 Tough times don’t last. Tough and prepared people do. (Robert H. Schuller, Amercian pastor)Tough times don't last. Tough and prepared people do. (Robert H. Schuller, Amercian pastor) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk

16 Wishing won’t keep you safe, preparedness will (anon)

Wishing won't keep you safe, preparedness will (anon) | Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Quotes - EVAQ8.co.uk
For more Resilience Blog use the blog right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation for the main website. For more on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness simply head straight to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

Thank you!

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Welcome to 2017 – be prepared, not scared

Be prepared, not scared. No kidding!

image: huffingtonpost (http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_630_noupscale/5865938f1500002c0091668c.png)And I’m being entirely practical, not sarcastic (and truthful) like the BBC’s Charlie Brooker’s 2016 wipe  nor pragmatic (and accurate) like the Guardian’s  Climate change in 2016: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If I were to answer Sarah Marsh’s appeal What is giving you hope for 2017 then I would say that:

finally, emergency preparedness is going mainstream in the UK

No, I’m not talking ‘prepper’, they’ve been at it for many years and are mentioned in this blog elsewhere (use the search function if you’re interested). I’m talking main stream embracing emergency preparedness: regular households, small and medium sized businesses, schools and other communities, even places of worship.  That is, truly, encouraging and very timely.

Today, the BBC highlighted that Terrorism ‘first-aid training [is] needed’ , mentioning the

launch of a new app called CitizenAid

Citizenaid APP | Image source http://citizenaid.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/phonestuff-540x308.jpgIt aims to be a guide for ‘Public Immediate Actions for multiple casualties from shooting, stabbing or a bombing’. In other words, a practical extension for everyone and following on from last year’s ‘run, tell, hide’ campaign by the government. For more on that see “what are invacuation, lock-down and shelter in place” (not just for business). Other highly useful UK preparedness apps include the Met Office weather app and the British Red Cross Emergency app. FloodAlerts is not an app just yet but you can bookmark it in your phone’s browser. But back to Citizen Aid and their app which works even offline

Their brand new website asks an excellent question at this time of the year:

Why not start 2017 with a resolution to be prepared?

Needless to say, I think that’s a very good idea so do download their and the other apps but don’t stop there. If you’re reading this then you certainly are in the perfect place to start properly with emergency preparedness. It’s easy: simply begin at our preparedness hub and browse from there. You will find lots of very useful free resources as well as reliable, cost-effective products that help you get equipped and be better prepared. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, well, we specialise in custom kits so check that out. Follow us on social media and keep updated (facebook, twitter).

That’s your preparedness sorted. As for me, I’m particularly excited this year to contribute designing a much bigger and better ‘September is Preparedness Month’ campaign ‘30days30waysUK’ which is beginning to take shape as I write this as well as piloting a brand new ISO/British Standard on Business Preparedness; more on all this later.

For now, I leave you with my best wishes for safe and happy New Year and an

easy solution to your New Year’s resolution to be better prepared:

get a kit – make a plan – be prepared; start today!   Monika   Emergency Preparedness Cartoon EVAQ8 Jan 2017                                               For more Resilience Blog use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency+Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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The 2016 National Flood Resilience Review for the time-pressed: UK Flooding, what you need to know

updated 02/11/2016

“We need to recognise that there is a non-negligible chance that we will see further events (flooding) of a similar, or maybe even greater, scale over the next decade.” (Executive summary)

Sadly, awareness of the seriousness of flooding is very thin on the ground. Just 6-8% of people actually living with flood risk know they are vulnerable, a figure that has not changed much since 2014 according to the Environment Agency’s @johncurtinEA.

That was households. What about business? For small businesses that make up 99% of the UK economy, it turns out that SME’s ‘prefer’ to react rather than pro-actively engage in business continuity and business preparedness as discussed recently during @TheFloodExpo . Dr Jessica Lamond (CFCR UWE)  showed that, sadly, SMEs are not pro-active (despite this making a lot of business sense), taking active steps only after having been flooded – twice! Even after measures are taken, actual preparedness is just at 60%. These are stark figures.

 

In September  the @cabinetofficeuk with @DefraGovUK under the leadership of  @andrealeadsom and with input from @uksciencechief published the National Flood Resilience Review. It charts the immense work undertaken by @EnvAgency and @metoffice in the wake of the devastating 2015/16 floods, lessons learnt and ways forward for better resilience nationwide.

For those of you who are time pressed or disinclined to read the full report, here are some key points important for household and business preparedness:

UK Flooding: money matters

  • £2.3 billion will be spent over the next six years from 2015- 2021 to strengthen flood and coastal defences with a particular focus on better protecting 300,000 homes
  • recovery packages handled by local authorities are currently in place for homes, businesses and farms in areas of Northern England affected by the 2015/6 floods
  • Flood Re has been established to ensure that households can continue to obtain affordable flood insurance (schemes for small business are being discussed; source: FloodExpo)

UK Flooding: severe weather and more frequent, stronger storms

  • the intensity of recent storms is unusual, but not unprecedented
  • a comprehensive study of trends (1871-2010) shows a robust signal of increasing numbers of strong winter storms and with increasing intensity for the high latitude North Atlantic; further south over the mid-latitude North Atlantic (ie the path of the storms that affected the UK in winter 2013/14) signal are more complex. Although the number of strong winter storms has not increased since 1871, storm mean intensity has increased. Notably, for very strong storms, the mean intensity has increased significantly. However, results are not conclusive and there remains substantial scientific debate about the behaviour of the North Atlantic jet stream and the storms that form along it.

UK Flooding: extreme rain fall, extreme tidal scenarios, sea level rise

  • rainfall depends on geography, the west receiving ten times more rain than the east of the UK; England and Wales is divided into six climate regions
  • based on robust analysis, the Met Office concludes that winter monthly rainfall totals could plausibly be 20% higher than recent past extremes in some parts of the country and up to 30% higher than recent past extremes in other parts
  • seasonal variability: winter flows have increased in upland, western catchments; autumn flows have increased in Central England and parts of Eastern Scotland. There is no apparent pattern of change in summer flows across the UK
  • high winter flows have increased over the last 30 years and there has been an increase in the frequency and magnitude of flooding over the same period, particularly in the West and North.  However, as with rainfall, longer records demonstrate that there are flood-rich and flood-poor periods in the hydrological record. Reconstruction of floods from sediment records suggests some very large floods in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm during the 20th century; this is over and above the increases associated with sinking of the southern part of the UK due to isostatic adjustment from the last Ice Age; this increases the risk of coastal flooding and tidal locking. A further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990
  • the Environment Agency’s Extreme Flood Outlines (EFO) have been stress-tested and found to be a reliable way to identify areas at risk from extreme river and coastal flooding over the next ten years
  • the risk of extreme river flows resulting in a severe flood are not unusual but the probability of this occurring is low
  • the 2016 National Risk Assessment (confidential document) for the first time differentiates fluvial and surface water flood risk in place of a single ‘inland flood risk’, allowing a better targeted approach to planning and management (NRR Civil Emergencies)

Limitations of scientific models

  • statistical analysis used to produce the report assumes that the probability of flooding has not changed significantly over time, for example because of  changes in land use, climate change or other climatic variations
  • interestingly climate change was not identified as a factor, so called ‘natural variability’ dominating extreme rainfall scenarios ; but there was consensus that the techniques used should be developed further to explore a fuller range of possible events
  • the variable nature of regional/local weather and rainfall plus the complexities of terrain and catchments mean that any results are indicative only and cannot describe all settings
  • the next set of UK Climate Projections due to be published in 2018 (UKCP18)

 

UK flooding: critical national infrastructure and the private sector

We depend on a secure supply of services such as electricity, telecommunications, water, healthcare and transport. Many are delivered by the private sector. Government, sector regulators and industries are working together to ensure security of supply across the 13 CNI (critical national infrastructure) sectors (more, see CPNI). The loss of local services during the winter floods 2015/6 meant that, for the first time, individual sector-by-sector assets at risk from flooding were identified.   The complex inter-dependencies between sectors continue to be investigated.

  • 1640 potentially vulnerable national infrastructure asset sites serving a (pragmatically determined) population threshold range from 10,000 to 25,000 have been identified, most  of which were deemed ‘defended’
  • 530 key infrastructure sites around the country are currently vulnerable to flooding (again within the 10,000-25,000 threshold)
  • infrastructure sectors are at different stages in the resilience building process, some have yet to complete their analysis. Losing electricity or hospitals are particularly acute ‘worst case’ scenarios impacting communities
  • the electricity industry will invest £250 million (2015-2021) to protect the network against flooding; sites serving more than 10,000 people which are not protected against an extreme flood have been surveyed and have a plan in place to deploy temporary barriers if required and feasible
  • work with the water industry to extend analysis to cover all relevant water assets (clean and waste) serving more than 10,000 people continues
  • transport is vulnerable, investments are under way
    • Network Rail is planning to spend £900 million over the next three years
    • Highways England plans to invest £78 million over the next five years to reduce the risk of flooding on major roads, and a further £300 million as part of its Road Investment Strategy
    • Gatwick Airport following flood-related disruption in December 2013, commissioned an independent review of its vulnerability to flooding and is allocating a further £10 million above and beyond the original £20 million investment in flood resilience over the next 2 years
    • the Department for Transport promote closer working between ports and Local Resilience Forums to improve overall awareness of, and preparation for, severe flooding and port resilience groups are being set up along the East Coast

(thankfully health and safety is much stricter in the UK)

UK flooding: temporary flood defenses

Permanent flood defenses are clearly preferable to temporary defenses. In some instances, however, permanent solutions either do not offer value for money or cannot improve the situation before next winter. Therefore temporary defenses play an immediate role in strengthening the resilience of local infrastructure:

temporary barriers do not provide the same level of protection as permanent defenses; failure rates typically are 20-30%, although this can be reduced by good advanced planning

  • no type of temporary barrier is universally deployable in all situations, and generally they cannot withstand large wave action. All leak to a certain extent and therefore need to be supplemented by pumps (annex 8 illustrates a range of temporary flood defenses such as tube, filled container, frame barrier, flexible free standing and rigid free standing)
  • once installed, successful ongoing deployment requires additional support including security against theft and vandalism as well as health and safety measures such as lighting and access maintenance to surrounding homes and businesses
  • thorough site-specific pre-planning as well as the availability of sufficient numbers of trained staff or volunteers is critical to success (as are training exercises)
  • engineered hard flood defenses can only ever be part the solution. Benefits of natural flood management has been seen ie in Pickering, North Yorkshire and Holnicote in Somerset. The Government’s future 25 year plan for the environment will look at strengthening the role of local partners, bringing them together to integrate flood management with water planning at a catchment level.

UK flooding: improving incidence response

  • £12.5 million are being invested through the Environment Agency in temporary flood barriers, mobile water pumps and incident command vehicles – stored in strategic locations across the country for fast response
  • £0.75 million are being invested to provide maintenance grants to enable nationally deployable flood rescue teams to maintain their equipment
  • a single register of national flood response assets will be kept up to date and will be viewable through ResilienceDirect; developing new capabilities in line with responders’ requirements.
  • an operations centre will be established (as identified in the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015) bringing together relevant organisations, including the armed forces
  • Defra in collaboration with other government departments will establish a standard operating model for local responders and the Environment Agency will work with Local Resilience Forums to identify opportunities to embed good practice in their flood response plans

 

UK flooding: flood defense and urban development

  • ultimate aim is to deliver flood defense levels for the Core Cities similar to that of London, Sheffield is the pilot project which, if successful will be broadened to the other core cities

 

The National Flood Resilience Review also contains interesting case studies in annex 4 which you may be interested to read especially if you are in or near to Carlisle, Calder Valley, Oxford, Exeter, Great Yarmouth, London (Teddington to Thames Barrier).   References

Much excellent work continues across the country including the setting up of local Flood Action Groups, Community Resilience Projects (i.e NYLRF) and flood prevention excercises such as


However, it also pays to be better prepared.There is a lot that can be done.
If your’re an individual start at our preparedness hub, if you’re a small business start at business preparedness.

Addition: EFRA report, Future flood prevention; Second Report of Session 2016–17

Be prepared, not scared. Have a good week.
Monika                              (aside: why we use cartoons)

 

Safe Evacuation: ‘mass’ evacuation and why ‘self’ evacuation makes a lot of sense

updated 20/03/2017

Mass evacuation IS (mostly) self-evacuation – what you need to know.

Part 2 of  ‘Safe Evacuation – what exactly does safe evacuation look like?’ |

The first post in this series looked at what an evacuation is (the immediate and urgent movement of people out of harm’s way to a safe location) and under what circumstances it may occur. It stayed pretty much within the familiar bounds of small scale evacuations from a home or a building of ‘regular’ size. Now I want to begin tackling another fascinating aspect which is ‘mass evacuation’. Timely and ironically perhaps I post this at the very moment a mass evacuation is actually under way in Florida and the Carolinas CNN Hurricane Matthew mass evacuation

 

Mass Evacuation: not relevant in peace-time UK ? Think again.

Other than the ‘regular’ emergency evacuations usually inconveniencing relatively small numbers of people because of suspicious packages (ie airports, train stations, high street, shops, shopping centres, and offices etc), sudden finds of unexploded WW devices (Southwark) and even sinking ferries you may remember these two major incidents:

Neither, however, actually classifies as ‘mass evacuation’. According to the Mass Evacuation Framework (2014) by the London Resilience Partnership, evacuating 5,000 or 20,000 people is still ‘just’ a so called ‘medium scale evacuation’. Nevertheless, the Holbon electrical fire on 01 April 2015 is a good example and here is why. In the words of Gary Squires from the London Fire Brigade (BBC)

 “lots of people had “self-evacuated” from nearby buildings and it was only the ones on Kingsway that had been evacuated by the authorities.”

This illustrates the point I’m making about the importance of self-evacuation and the need for better preparedness. Why? Because many workers and students were unable to return for several days (36 hour blaze), having left behind wallets, phones, keys and other important personal items in their hurry to get to safety. Thankfully no one was hurt and the incident happened on a relatively fine spring day, not in the middle of rush hour or during severe weather. It would have been a different story. I also want to mention the 7/7 bombing. Police estimate  4,000 people were caught up in the blasts in some way, many forced to self-evacuate. One of those people was my colleague Ben who has written here on school emergency preparedness. He will talk about his experience in a separate post. For now, I simply wish well all those currently caught up in the events of Hurricane Matthew and stress that preparedness is important and actually quite easy and straight forward where ever you are in the world.

UK organisations and businesses I urge to very seriously consider expanding your capacities and include Workplace Emergency Kits in your Health and Safety, Security and Business Continuity planning.  Considering how much such a simple and cost-effective step reduces your risks it is well worth the minor investment. A small item like a Personal Evacuation Pack to which items relevant to the individual have been added can make a real difference. Monika Thanks for stopping by! For more Resilience Blog use the right hand navigation. For emergency kit and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency+Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub.  If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. This post is also accessed by bit.ly/MassEVAC

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Safe Evacuation – what exactly does safe self evacuation look like?

Part 1 – Self-Evacuation (home)

What exactly is a ‘safe evacuation’? That depends of course on circumstances but the short answer is:

know your safe evacuation route, grab your Emergency Kit, get out – stay out – call for help

The long answer is a bit more complicated but actually quite interesting. So, let’s start at the very beginning with

What is an emergency evacuation and when does it happen?

An emergency evacuation is the immediate and urgent movement of people out of harm’s way to a safe location, away from threats or hazards (more see hazards and risks – what’s the difference).

Examples of emergency evacuations range from a small scale building evacuation to the large scale evacuation of an entire town or district. Reasons for an emergency evacuation include small and large incidents that may trigger fire or a spill, attacks or other security violation such as bomb threats, natural disasters such as severe weather, storms, flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, wildfires and also health related incidents such as an epidemic or pandemic.

Fire Drills and small scale Emergency Evacuation

First, a bit of comedy with Fa-fa-fa-fire! – Fawlty Towers

With the above in mind, Alex Gleeman has an excellent article titled Five ways to avoid the Fawlty Towers fire drill debacle in Health and Safety News which I encourage you to read but in this blog I want to focus on the ‘safe evacuation’ bit – or rather, complete lack thereof.

In the clip, Basil apologetically orders his returning guests to assemble in the lobby because “..something I ought to mention” which after escalating confusion eventually turns into raising the alarm ‘fa-fa-fa-FIRE!” causing the two elderly ladies to almost jump out of their skins, Polly subsequently ushering everyone out. Everyone? Going where exactly and for how long? What happens next to the evacuees? Thankfully it’s a pleasant day judging by the sunshine visible beyond the entrance and everyone’s fair weather attire. Perhaps they all simply wander down to the local pub and fortify themselves while all this blows over and they can return to their rooms at Fawlty Towers.

If you are a guest staying at a hotel, do you check and memorise your safe evacuation procedure? How about at your place of work or at home? Would you know how to safely get out by two different routes, your primary and secondary escape paths? Day 5 of this year’s September is Preparedness Month campaign #30days30waysUK was on #PlanYourEscape.

Day14 #30days30waysUK discussed that emergencies not only happen during the day. You may need to evacuate in the middle of the night. There may be hazards such as smoke, broken glass, debris or rubble you may only dimly be aware of. There may be a power cut.

 

It makes sense to be better prepared for ‘self-evacuation’

  • make your home ‘safe evacuation plan’ with primary and secondary escape routes from every room and share it with everyone in your household
  • under your bed, put a pair of sturdy shoes and a torch
  • have an emergency kit (i.e. GoBag) for safe evacuation that you can grab at a moment’s notice
  • practise your plan

And before I leave you, here is an excellent video from Canada that demonstrates the importance of a fire escape plan.

Self-evacuation is not just important at home but also at your place of work or study; more about that next time. Have a great week. Be prepared, not scared.

Monika
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Community Resilience: Aid versus Preparedness

Building community resilience means building group solidarity and the connection between this, faith organisations and charities is well known. Elsewhere I’ve written about Resilience – drawing on Faith for Strength and how faith organisations including places of worship could play an increasingly active role in preparedness. How effective responses from faith organisations are, especially in times of crisis, emergency or disaster is clear: often they are the first on the ground lending assistance and giving aid. In some instances, this is not unproblematic, however, as my counter terrorism colleagues will appreciate for the provision of aid and welfare can also lead to creating a so called ‘enabling environment’ for extremist groups. Maybe this is part of the reason why some of those who really are doing good unconditionally and purely from a humanitarian point-of-view have such a hard time. Maybe it’s simply because some of them look a little different.

Meet Ravi Singh:

Khalsa Aid has a long and outstanding track record of providing aid not only internationally, but also  – yes you are hearing correctly – here in the UK.

“This is our community, these are our countrymen who are in dire need. I never knew the amount of devastation until we drove around to get to this place, we had to go several different routes and it’s amazing. The floods … the fields are like lakes. It’s unbelievable, how will they recover from this disaster? I think we all need to pull together; it’s very very important. ”

Ravi Singh, 2014  Disaster Charity Khalsa Aid Helps (UK) Flood Victims

 

 

“The impact of the floods in the north of England and Scotland has been enormous. Yet the disaster has brought together people who might never normally mix – from the armies of Sikh and Muslim volunteers to the individuals sending care parcels.”

 

The image in The Guardian article How the floods united the north from which the above quote is taken, shows volunteers from Khalsa Aid, giving out food to villagers in the flood-hit Lancashire village of Croston.

…. and in July 2016 they were handing out water to stranded motorists during a heatwave

So, why am I telling you all this? While absolutely brilliant, it simply should not come to this in the first place. Not today, in the 21st century and not in the UK, a first world country.

What is to be done?

Places of worship as centres for community resilience

Previously I’ve talked about Community Resilience Building Blocks – it all starts with prepared individuals which puts the onus on individuals and why that is tricky in Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us? While fundamentally ‘preparedness must begin individually, we also all know that real strength lies in social groups and solidarity; see Altruism and why it pays to be kind.  As I mentioned earlier, one way of building community resilience is by drawing on Faith for Strength but it goes further, for places of worship can do a lot more than prayer and can become the nexus for community preparedness, responding to spiritual as well as bodily needs during times of real crisis.

This approach is already happening in North Yorkshire. Last year the North Yorkshire Resilience Forum created a successful evidence-based model approach which you can read more about in UK Community Resilience, a brilliant example of what works.  It is my and other people’s sincere hope that in the future this kind of forward thinking, pro-active model will be supported and made available much more widely across many parts of the UK. It is also my hope that eventually such models will tackle and include food security issues.

Places of worship are important for another reason: security

The UK Government Home Office reacted swiftly in the aftermath of the horrific attacks in France on Jacques Hamel, the 85 year old priest at St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

While certainly a step in the right direction, the funding scheme is sadly limited to securing property, rather than people.  Being rooted in (hate) crime prevention thinking, this is not surprising.  What a brilliant opportunity this could be to broaden capacities and capabilities! Places of worship, similar to schools, feature as areas of refuge and shelter-in-place on many an emergency planner’s community emergency plan. Why not also provide the wider resources needed to to communities so that they can respond in a major incident, emergency or disaster? I leave you with this question on this hottest September days since 1911 and also with a link to our newest information hub for places of worship evaq8.co.uk/PlacesOfWorship

Wishing you a safe and prepared rest of the week.

Monika  

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SIP: SHELTER-IN-PLACE | September is Preparedness Month

September is Preparedness Month

Day 7: SHELTER-IN-PLACE  or SIP for short, which we hope you do; a lovely cup of (ice) tea or coffee, perhaps something stronger, while you get comfortably stuck in what comes next. Enjoy!

It is a blessing that perceptions and attitudes are changing. Change is good and very necessary as I’ve touched upon in “who moved my cheese? Resilience in a fast changing world”. I’m honoured that EVAQ8 is included in this year’s #30days30ways UK campaign raising awareness for emergency preparedness nationwide and further afield.

Today we are talking about

SHELTER-IN-PLACE: what is it and why do we need to think about it?

Well, let me take you back in time a couple of years while you are SIPping comfortably. You may remember seeing this:

Headline words such as ‘apocalypse’ and ‘prepper’ immediately peak interest, triggering (very mild) anxiety and ridicule, usually in that order and in quick succession; so fast actually that you won’t necessarily even be aware of it. This is what the media does, churn out a quick headline grabbing story, poke fun and onto the next news cycle.  A google news search on the topic will quickly reveal that this treatment is pretty ‘standard’. Humour is a coping mechanism (as the ‘psychology minded’ of you out there will know) and an excellent motivator which, in my opinion, should be harnessed positively rather than used to judge people and the choices they make (or are forced to take).

‘Prepper’ is a stereotype. We must look deeper.

There is no fixed definition of what exactly a ‘prepper’ is or does. Rather, ‘prepping’ or simply ‘being prepared’ ranges from wilderness survivalists to keeping several days emergency supplies at home such as long shelf-life food, water purification, first aid etc.

Reality is, most of us live in an urban environment far away from any real wilderness.

If you already have extra food supplies you can cook and eat without access to utilities such as power or water, own a good first aid kit, a radio and a decent torch (preferably wind-up)  then you qualify and can call yourself a prepper, if you like. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. How people label themselves are complex and interesting matters. Because of media and film hype the term tends to set off the imagination in perhaps more extreme, fantasy directions. I prefer to keep it real, simple and every day.

 

Being prepared is simply part of who you are.

A prepper is not a ‘crazy’ person but actually someone that makes highly rational choices based on an appraisal of their situation with  knowledge of the past and a look to the future.

And what exactly does that look like, the future I mean? Well, things have certainly changed since 2014 and we now must Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer.

Some big and hard questions are being asked in the wake of flooding and storms which now bear names (MetOffice storm centre). This particular strategy, like most things in life, is both good and bad. While we now can make ‘personal associations’, remember and hopefully learn – meaning: heed warnings, be better prepared – there is also the risk of triggering anxiety and even PTSD. ‘Understanding fear’ is crucial, as I wrote earlier and managing fear is a real challenge. Many turn away (self-preservation, ‘hide’) rather than face (acknowledge) and prepare for what may be coming in a balanced, rational way. Yet strong emotions, even fear can be an ally.

Preparedness is the ultimate confidence builder.

 

Now I still haven’t talked about what SIP actually is…you still are, SIPping that is? 😉 

Shelter-in-Place is the opposite of running away

…or evacuate using the proper term. Shelter-in-place happens when you cannot or should not run away, then you shelter-in-place. It’s controlled. It’s planned. Unlike ‘hide’.

Shelter-in-Place: climate change, accidents, security

Not necessarily in that order but that’s what it’s all about. An extreme example I’ve already shown you above, in the first guardian tweet. That was about Sam Notaro who saw himself forced to build his own flood defences to protect his family and property, a four-bedroom home in Moorland, Somerset. Other examples include the emergency services asking you to close your windows and await the all clear. It happens all the time, for example, recently….

They don’t call it SIP aka ‘shelter-in-place’ simply because it’s usually not serious enough and does not last long enough which means you don’t have to seal your windows and air ducts and ‘hide/hold out’ for many hours or days.

Shelter-in-Place can also be a consequence of a security lock-down.

Just what exactly a so called “invacuation” is I talk about in what are invacuation, lock-down and shelter-in-place and how do they link to emergency preparedness? This also highlights that, fundamentally, preparedness is for also for business, not just for individuals and that it must cover both evacuation and shelter-in-place. Actually preparedness must include everyone, the old, the very young, the vulnerable and even your pets! Yes, we also have a special page for preparedness with pets and we are involved in community resilience projects which you can read about more here if you’re interested. But let’s talk practical.

What exactly does SHELTER-IN-PLACE preparedness actually look like?

It’s simple. You can count it out on both your hands. It’s all about the 5 preparedness principles and 5 core areas, the gist of which is:  you need to cover

  • 1 food & food preparation (meals-ready-to-eat, water purification)
  • 2 tools & personal protection (multi-tools, gaffa tape, ffp masks…)
  • 3 shelter & warmth (emergency blankets, sleeping bags…)
  • 4 light & communication (torches, flashing lights, radio, comms…)
  • 5 first aid & hygiene

 

                    so that you can do.. (and at the end will get

  • 1 Prioritise
  • 2 Plan
  • Prepare
  • 4 Practise
  • 5 Peace of mind

 

Shelter-in-place: GET A KIT. MAKE A PLAN. BE PREPARED.

Look around our website; right side navigation for more blog, top navigation for kit. We source the best products on the market and test them so that you can rely on them in a real emergency. If you don’t find exactly what you want, our speciality is bespoke kits, examples of which you can find here.

So that’s about it. Have you finished SIPping?

What? No easy tick list to print out and start with I hear you ask? Well, yes and no, because I’m a little ambivalent about easy short cuts that give a false sense of security and all for motivating and empowering people. You see, only you really know what you need to be better prepared. You are the only one who best knows your situation and circumstances and what you are comfortable with. No simplistic tick list can really get there properly. Only you can, with a little extremely worthwhile effort.

But we help. Actually there is a lot of help out there and a good place to start is to first check the website of your local resilience forum which you can also find referenced in our (evolving) directory Ready for Emergencies.  In addition we offer a comprehensive free Emergency Plan download and lots of other useful stuff which you can access right from our preparedness hub page. This includes our newest awareness raising video, put together for us by the dedicated Warwickshire/ Worcestershire man, Ian MacDonald Walker (@sonetimage6 ). 

Now it’s your turn: #SHELTERINPLACE challenge

For today, day 7 of the #30days30waysUK campaign, we simply would like you to do one thing so that YOU are better prepared and which also HELPS US ALL to raise awareness for emergency preparedness:

Start making your own 72+ hour SHELTER IN PLACE kit, take a picture + share

  • Go through your stores at home and start making your 72+ hour shelter-in-place kit for all the members in your household, covering the 5 core areas
  • All chosen items must be in good working order and have a shelf life of minimum one year, preferably longer
  • Add special items for children and elders, include your pet(s)
  •  Take a picture and share it with the hashtags  #30days30waysUK  #ShelterInPlace  before securely boxing or bagging your kit

Remember to mark the earliest expiry date in your calendar to check and replace items. Keep your kit updated.

CONGRATULATIONS you are now better prepared! :-) If you work for or own a small business, start a contingency kit and business continuity plan for business preparedness and share as above.

Now before I go. Thank you! Thank you LRF Emergency Planners for including us and thank YOU for reading and listening. We all face an unknown future and must be willing to be brave, face what is coming and work together. No one is ever alone in a real emergency and disaster. Capacities and capabilities build resilience, and we must keep it positive and empowering with a sense of humour. Which, finally, brings me to Harry Barker (@go_artmonkey) in Manchester. Thank you for the brilliant cartoon finale.

Don’t be scared – BE PREPARED!

Monika – I look forward to seeing you around at #30days30waysUKPreparedness is for everyoneFor more on practical Emergency and Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub. Why we use cartoons. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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School Preparedness and Resilience in Exam Time

SchoolExamstock image dreamstime_xs_52589783 time is upon us again.

Lots of stressed out teenagers sat at small desks in gyms and halls across the country feeling like every word they write will determine the course of the rest of their life.

But what does exam time mean in terms of preparedness and resilience?

Well it changes how we do our business quite significantly.  All of a sudden we have a whole new set of considerations we need to plan for.

Firstly we have mixed up our usual peer groups so we need to be accounting for them differently in the event of an evacuation, like for a fire alarm.  All our usual assembly areas will have changed too so any rehearsals or drills we have previously carried out are now void.  It may be that we should consider adding an evacuation brief to the normal exam preamble about not talking and being escorted to the loos.

Next we only have one set of the relevant exam papers which we open on the day of the exam when we hand them out.  What do we do if they are damaged or destroyed?

We are also probably using different facilities.  We love to put them all in the gym or the hall where we can keep an eye on them at once, and we need less invigilators that way.  But what do we do if we can’t use that facility.  Do we have a plan to use other classrooms?  If they are en-bloc to the hall or gym they might be unavailable too.  But the exam has to happen at that date and time to prevent cheating!  What are we going to do?  Now we are in multiple smaller classrooms rather than one big hall we need more invigilators, who are they and how will we get hold of them?

Beyond ‘logistics’: building reputation management and psychosocial resilience

What about our reputation?  What does it say about us if we get this wrong?  A good friend of mine always says “Just imagine the headline”.  As a professional organisation we have to get this right.  Relations between students, parents and school can be a challenge at the best of times.  Not to mention maintaining our image in the community.  Every crisis is actually an opportunity.  Managing any disruptions during exam time will really set us above the pack!

Finally what about our consideration of psychosocial resilience.  Our young people are going through what is probably the most stressful experience they have ever had in their lives to date.  ChildLine and the Samaritans always report a significant spike in calls from young people at this time of year.  A recent survey by ChildLine said that a worrying 64% of their 1300 respondents stated they have never received any support in dealing with exams.  Even more worryingly these same respondents said they dealt with exam stress by smoking, taking drugs and self-harming.  Sadly, for some it is all too much and results suicide.  We should be looking to the psychosocial welfare of everyone in our school communities, but we should be making even more efforts during exam time.

What we need is a set of contingency plans specifically for exam time that sit as part of our Crisis and Continuity planning.  The young people sitting these exams are suffering from enough stress without the uncertainty of being unable to actually sit their exam or have it disrupted.  They are the future after all and we have a duty to give them the best support we can.

Ben O’Toole

This article was written before the latest headline hit Bomb threats across UK schools on GCSE exam day as caller vows to ‘behead children’ For more information on practical tools for school preparedness and resilience visit evaq8.co.uk/schools