Category Archives: Preparedness: Community

Preparedness in the Community – Resilience: group reliance, group self-sufficiency, resilience

Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day

This post was originally published 15 January 2019 (re-instated here after a major site upgrade)

Brexit, personal preparedness and why being sensible actually rules the day … and that’s despite considerable media efforts to the contrary. Hello and welcome to another preparedness blog after a long period of quiet. I’ve been repeatedly asked to comment on Brexit and personal preparedness, e.g. this recent exchange on twitter 

https://twitter.com/MonikaAlMufti/status/1075033430277140481

Now, official guidance on personal preparedness has not exactly been forthcoming.

This is a shame and a hugely missed opportunity, one that’s all too easily filled by those willing to exploit the fear and confusion of people such as Lynda, 61 from near Wakefield, quoted by the BBC as saying

“I’m not worried about Brexit, I’m worried about the aftermath”

In yesterday’s article titled Hundreds stock up over food supply fears. A few hours later, to my dismay, this was surpassed by the Guardian upping the ante with I don’t trust the government to look after me and my dog.

Such headlines are but the tip of a highly visible iceberg of months and months worth of articles, blogs, twitter and facebook feeds about Brexit and stockpiling – one gigantic project fear! Once again, as I’ve discussed in the Shelter-in-Place post back in 2016 written as a contribution for the #30days30waysUK campaign, the media hypes the issue without bothering to really look deeper or wider.

Yes, there may be hundreds (according to the BBC) or just a few (as reported in the Guardian) amongst a UK population of nearly 67 million people who are ‘prepping’ and good on them to have a few extra food and medical supplies they absolutely cannot live without for a certain amount of time.

From a personal preparedness point of view, Brexit is hardly on par with a disaster such as major and widespread flooding, an earthquake or an industrial accident which may paralyse or wipe out crucial infrastructure and systems.

I’m thoroughly disappointed once again in how approaches to better personal preparedness are being (mis-) represented, adding to the confusion rather than ameliorating it .

At least the BBC made one attempt at balance by speaking to Prof Tim Benton, an expert in food systems from the University of Leeds, who said he did

not foresee the UK running out of food but believed there could be “situations where we cannot reliably get what we expect to see on the shelves on a daily basis“.

I’ve added emphasis there because in my view this is exactly where the crux of the matter lies: it’s all about expectations.

What exactly is it that we are expecting here with Brexit? What are your assumptions? Just what are you personally preparing for and how?

Yes, there will be some delays and potentially shortages in certain areas for some time but the UK is certainly nowhere near facing a doomsday scenario. Yet, media interest is intense, so much so that for months, EVAQ8 have received continuous enquires from as far as Japan and Denmark, for example this TV2 clip (from 0:45 – yes they had a somewhat increased interest in long-shelf life nutrition products in the greater scheme of things) aired in November.

That’s why EVAQ8 keeps reiterating, e.g:

So, you may have seen this breaking news story that the UK Government is to tell citizens to start preparing for no-deal…

Posted by EVAQ8 on Tuesday, 18 December 2018

 

If you feel you must stockpile – whatever exactly that looks like and means to you personally and please (!!) assess your situation rather than jumping on a hyped bandwagon – then take a good look at blog Modern Emergency Food Storage especially if you are short of storage space and explore some of the links from there.

Personally, for many years and irrespective of where I live, a well stocked pantry is simply part of every-day life and not because I was brought up in Switzerland with a ‘bunker’ in the basement and lived in Egypt for many years almost entirely off grid.

If push came to shove, my family here in the UK (including a fussy cat) could probably live off what’s in the cupboard and freezer for about six weeks and that is just normal, irrespective of Brexit. Add to that some self-heating food and a tin or two of long-shelf life nutrition as well as a few other choice ‘prepper’ items if that’s what you want to call a comprehensive first aid kit with additional meds, some water purification products, sleeping bags (we camp) and head torches on top of our GoBags. Interesting then will be the dinner conversations, especially when everyone starts missing their favourite foods and treats; in the UK, we are all so very spoilt for choice often without fully realising it.

What do I expect? Personally, I expect change, to explore some products new to me rather than relying on what I regularly buy in the shops. What I do NOT expect is finding empty shelves for extended periods of time, nor massive power outages, nor drinking water issues, nor civil unrest… especially if everyone, including the media, can stop obsessing and the government steps up with much better public Emergency Risk Communication.

Monika

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

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Preparedness: it’s all about capabilities and capacities

What? That sounds like a slogan and you’re right, it is. Actually, it’s a good one because it elegantly sums up what preparedness is all about. But what exactly does ‘capabilities and capacities’ actually mean, why should you care and what does it have to do with preparedness? These are excellent questions. Here is a quick explainer.

In a nutshell: capability is your ability or skill to do something and your capacity is about whether you actually have the means and tools to do so.

So, how does ‘capabilities and capacities’ apply to preparedness and why should I care?

It’s all about you and what exactly happens when you are affected by an emergency or disaster. Fact is: in a real emergency or disaster, the emergency services will respond but cannot get to everyone right away. It pays to be ready and better prepared so that you are not left entirely helpless and can respond.

Preparedness capabilities and capacities are about what YOU can do – YOUR skill set – and how well you can apply your skill set because of the tools and equipment you can access.

So, as you can see, the two concepts build on each another and come together. Thus the slogan ‘Preparedness is all about capabilities and capacities’ works pretty well. And there is more…

Preparedness is about being pro-active rather than just re-active. Another way of saying this is

Preparedness is  (the capacity and capability of) bouncing forward so that you can bounce back faster

after an emergency or disaster. It goes beyond being re-active, as for example in the RUN, TELL, HIDE advice. Sometimes you simply can’t or don’t want to do that and besides, there are many emergencies other than a weapons attack; for more along those lines see Security & Safety Update then also head to what are invacuation, lockdown and shelter-in-place and what exactly does safe self-evacuation look like? If you are involved with NGOs see Rethinking Resilience: Capacities of relief staff and volunteers in disaster zones.

But back to ‘capabilities and capacities’ and some more detail. Naturally you need real life skills such as first aid training and emergency planning for which we give you a lot of free resources at our preparedness hub.

That’s a good start but it’s actually not enough. Just imagine for a moment that you are the best trained doctor or nurse in the world but your first aid kit /emergency grab bag / crisis response kit is empty….Right, you immediately get where this is going: you need the right tools to be better prepared. Luckily you already are in the best place for just exactly that – it’s easy:

Take a look at How to build your own emergency kit and also  the Survival Kit List. If you own a business or know someone who does, explore and share Business Preparedness. Check out the many standard Emergency Kit Grab Bags listed or perhaps you are after a custom-made Emergency Kit tailored specifically to you.

Get better prepared – bounce back faster: upgrade your capabilities and capacities. Start today!

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 and 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.

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For real-life insight into professional capabilities and capacities, take a look at the BBC’s ‘Hospital’ episode 1 season 2 | London Bridge attack victims being treated at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington.

Emergency Preparedness UK: security and safety update June 2017

Wow! Two really good things happened this week for emergency preparedness, addressing both safety and security. First, the @EPCollege published @HasisD ‘s  report on what the UN Disaster Risk Reduction Sendai Framework means for (local!!) UK practitioners which really opens up the debate (PDF)

… and today, just four days after the London Bridge attack, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) issued new official safety guidance for crowded places which includes a substantial section on personal safety.

 

In their guidance, NaCTSO writes

“No-one has more responsibility for your personal security than you.”

Naturally, security and safety go hand in hand and so in my view this statement applies across the board to include all risks, not just terrorism. Actually, the risk from terrorism, viewed objectively and rationally, plays just a very small role. Consider:

“On an average day, terrorists kill 21 people worldwide. On that same average day, natural or technological disasters kill 2,200 people – or more than 100 times as many.”

The more ‘clear and present danger’ lies elsewhere. As my earlier post Prepare for a world that’s more than 2° C warmer discusses, there is a different elephant in the room. A new study that assessed potential future climate damage to major European coastal cities projects that annual economic losses may range up to 40 billion $ by 2100 (based on worst emission scenario, which we’re heading into rather fast).   For the UK, sadly, this will continue to look more and more like this:  

So, what is to be done? Well, actually there is a lot that anyone can do. In this blog, we specifically talk about personal and community preparedness, capabilities which means skills and training and capacities which means practical tools and equipment. Key posts here to look at are:

Disaster Preparedness – what disaster, why preparedness?

Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us?

Community Resilience Building Blocks – it all starts with prepared individuals

Be prepared – not scared!

Monika

edit to add: also just out now is the JRF’s report: “Present and future flood vulnerability, risk and disadvantage: A UK scale assessment” This report is of particular interest to community resilience. It highlights how flood risks interact with social vulnerability across the UK to create flood disadvantage, an issue which will be exacerbated by climate change. Today some 6.4 million people live in flood prone areas, with around 1.5 million of these people living in vulnerable neighbourhoods (which include people on low incomes, with poor health and other factors that means floods are likely to have more negative impacts…

 

For more Resilience Blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For more on Emergency and 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 for sharing!

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UK Community Resilience: Flood Action Groups and Volunteer Major Incident Response Teams lead the way

An update on the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum NYLRF Community Resilience and Emergency Plan scheme

Back in October 2015 I first introduced you to UK Community Resilience – a brilliant example of what really works and a follow up of the project. Several seasons of storms and flooding later as well as post 2016 National Flood Resilience Review, it’s high time I update you on progress, for much has indeed happened at North Yorkshire Resilience Forum (NYLRF) to raise community resilience and get people better prepared.

The pilot project originally started with 11 trail blazing communities two years ago reaching around 22’000 people. Now take a look at how this project has grown to include all these communities:

North Yorkshire Communi Resilience map

Green means Community Emergency Plans completed and orange means Community Emergency Plans are under way. This is amazing progress! 🙂 The map is updated regularly and you can see it for yourself by visiting the NYLRF Community Emergency Plans page (click the black and white map there to get to the live one).

One of the communities that has been on board since the word ‘go’ is Tadcaster Flood Action Group. They have a brilliant website and are also on twitter @TadFloodGroup and  facebook so check them out.

Tadcaster Flood Action Group

Their team of dedicated volunteers simply do amazing work and have vast experience since their town was divided by the famous bridge collapse thanks to the terrible 2015 winter storms namely Storm Eva and Storm Frank.

This year, to raise awareness even further, Tadcaster Flood Action Group is planning a bi-monthly newsletter distributed via the website, email and leaflet drop at properties at risk in Tadcaster and I for one cannot wait to see their first edition. Networking and organising local evens are, naturally, also on the agenda and they work with communities such as Ulleskelf Flood Action Group, Newton Kyme and Kirby Wharfe, sharing knowledge and experience to keep communities safe from flooding and build community resilience.

Community Preparedness Kits form one important aspect of the NYLRF Emergency Plan Scheme (together with plans and training), providing tools and resources to those on the front line.

Nicola Eades from Tadcaster Flood Action Group says:

“The community resilience kit which we received has been absolutely fabulous and is a kit that we have in our central base. It simply gives the group peace of mind and a preparation tool having it to hand.”

 

Robin Derry, senior Emergency Planner at North Yorkshire and creator of the NYLRF community resilience scheme already looks ahead, saying:

“The success shown by communities such as Tadcaster is helping to promote this scheme to other communities across the county resulting in a rapid upturn in community preparedness. The added incentive of a free emergency kit is definitely a bonus.

We have a number of events planned across the coming months to promote the scheme further and long list of communities wanting to get up and running with a plan.”

 

In addition, another recent successful example, Ingleton, has been reported in the press:

Ingleton Community Emergency Preparedness Plan

 

But it does not end here. In addition to Flood Action, I want to also tell you about another NYLRF collaboration to tackle community resilience from yet another vital angle: mental health. Meet Alex Sutcliffe and her Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) who will offer support in the aftermath of a traumatic incident such as major flooding to help those who may have been affected:


Find out more about what they do on the Post Incident Support page on the NYRLF website and keep your eyes on this blog which will soon post more about  @alexsutcliffe24 work who explains:

“The MIRT team are a very special team of volunteers who are always ready and willing to be called out to support communities or individuals through a traumatic experience.  We do this by offering emotional and practical support, whenever and wherever it is needed.  The MIRT bags from EVAQ8 have been invaluable as an additional resource to allow the volunteers to be prepared and raring to go with ‘life essentials’ and short notice.
When communities or individuals need the assistance of one or more of the MIRT volunteers, it is at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.  Being evacuated from your home at short notice can leave you feeling very vulnerable and ‘out of control’.  The skills of the MIRT team, ensure that anyone in our care is well looked after and kept safe until such a time that they are able to return to their own homes.”

 

The creation of this special team is a UK first and so all must be hugely congratulated for getting this off the ground.

 

Building community resilience in the UK remains a top priority and the NYLRF model approach is a brilliant example that works.

Hazards and risks are many, not just flooding as we are preparing for a world that’s a least 2°C warmer.

Clearly, Resilience and Preparedness roadblocks  have not damped the spirits of the many dedicated emergency planners and volunteers that make it happen in Yorkshire. It is my sincere hope that their example will go on to inspire many. Why not consider starting a Flood Action or Community Preparedness Group in your area? Get in touch with your Local Resilience Forum and find out what opportunities there are.

Be prepared – not scared!

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 and 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. 

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added on 25Sep2017 as part of 30days30waysUK #prep2017day25 #preparedCommunity

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  

 thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

 

Emergency Preparedness Cartoon EVAQ8 Jan 2017For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our 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     thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our 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!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

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

updated 24/06/2017

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

Part 2 of  ‘Safe Evacuation – what exactly does safe evacuation look like?’  and ‘Safe Evacuation: tall buildings, tower blocks: why Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans and Emergency Preparedness tools are essential’ (tip: follow the blog category ‘Safe Evacuation’ on the right hand navigation).

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:

      • 2005 Birmingham evacuates approximately 20,000 people following a security alert

 

       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    

This post is also accessed by bit.ly/MassEVAC

 thank you for sharing and raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness

 

 

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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  

This post is also accessed by bit.ly/AidVSPreparedness

 thank you for sharing

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our 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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What are “invacuation”, “lock-down” and “shelter-in-place”? How do they link to emergency preparedness and why is that important?

updated 03/05/2017 : new government guidance issued “Recognising the terrorist threat

Invacuation_EVAQ8-shelter-in-placeOften there is confusion about what  these, sometimes interchangeable, terms mean. Perhaps this is because the typical safety procedure everyone in the UK is most familiar with is to evacuate – the standard ‘get out – stay out – call 999’ advice of fire safety.  In contrast, staying in when ‘all hell breaks loose’ is counter-intuitive at first, especially for commercial or public premises. However, ‘getting out’ is neither possible nor wise in a number of scenarios as will be explored shortly in the wider sphere of workplace emergency preparedness; but first things first, a quick look at the terminology:

 “in-vacuation is probably the least known term but once you understand the meaning as ‘inverse evacuation’ you will always remember this wordplay on opposites

“lock-down” refers to an emergency protocol to prevent people (or information) from escaping and typically involves some form of violence.  Lock-down examples in the news typically concern bomb threats or attacks, especially in crowded places such as inner city areas, sports events, theatres, shopping centres, places of worship or schools.

“shelter-in-place” in the UK is mostly understood in two quite specific ways, both rooted in fire safety:

  • “go in – stay in – tune in”, the ‘classic’ shelter-in-place order issued by the emergency services. Typically, this may happen during a major incident such as a large fire, hazmat or security incident.  It means that you have to close (and seal, depending on the severity of the incident) all doors, windows (and vents) to create a contamination free space. Take immediate shelter in a readily accessible safe location and await further instructions. Stay well away from window panes that may shatter and cause injuries
  • specialist measures to provide safe shelter and security from hazards to vulnerable persons that may have difficulty to evacuate such as wheelchair users, the elderly or persons with disabilities

There is much more to Shelter-in-Place and it certainly applies to more than just fire safety and counter-terrorism. Have a look at the following post SIP: SHELTER-IN-PLACE | September is Preparedness Month.

Since the tragic events in Paris and while UK threat levels remain SEVERE, understandings are now expanding beyond fire safety into emergency preparedness for all persons and at all levels. That includes business, especially if located at or near crowded places. The recent “Run – Hide – Tell” safety video from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office is an excellent example which reflects this.

Why “shelter-in-place”, where and how?

‘Hiding’, or hopefully a more controlled, planned and prepared emergency procedure such as  ‘shelter-in-place’ protocols are not only about terror threats such as lone shooter incidents or a firearms and weapons attack as in the above NaCTSO video. Shelter-in-place is highly relevant for a range of scenarios which, broadly, can be divided into ‘man-made threats’ and ‘natural hazards.

Shelter-in place or invacuation rather than evacuation makes sense not only for threats

  • explosion, structural damage
  • hazardous materials (HAZMAT, i.e. biological, chemical …)
  • attack with weapons and/or firearms, bomb threat, drones
  • civil unrest, riot

but also for natural hazards such as storms and severe weather, severe cold or heatwave, during an earthquake, pandemic or , most relevant for the UK, flooding which destroys more businesses than fire. So, what does an ideal shelter-in-place room look like?

 

Shelter-in-place: rooms above ground floor, for example …

  • interior rooms with no windows  and/or
  • exterior rooms with loadbearing walls, few windows and vents that can be sealed
  • adequate space to sit people, avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms
  • feature fire doors and a way to barricade yourself in may provide additional safety

Utility rooms, large storage rooms, pantries, conference rooms etc. may work well as designated shelter-in-place areas. In addition

  • install a landline telephone in the room to call for help, mobile phones may be overwhelmed
  • mark the room(s) with a ‘shelter-in-place’ sign on the inside of the room only for security reasons and assure your safety personnel and staff are well trained (download free shelter-in-place sign to print)
  • strategically place preparedness supplies; i.e. emergency food and water, light & communication etc.

 

Shelter-in-place procedure – emergency plan

Specific procedures for shelter-in-place vary depending on the nature of the environment, anticipated and planned for threats and typically include:

  • close the premises
  • inform staff, customers and visitors to stay, not leave and go to designated areas immediately
  • do not walk or drive outdoors
  • ask all people present to turn their phones to silent and call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe unless there is an imminent severe threat where silence must be observed
  • turn on business call-forwarding or alternative telephone systems. If you have voicemail, change the recording to indicate that you are temporarily closed, that staff and visitors are safe and will remain in the building until authorities have issued the all clear
  • lock (and seal) air vents, doors, windows;  draw shades, blinds or curtains in case of an explosion
  • turn off or disable fans, heating and air conditioning as well as all other non-essential electricals
  • get hold of your emergency supplies and go to your previously identified shelter-in place area

Ideally, on each floor you will have access to an emergency grab bag, individual One-Person-Compact-Survival-Kits for staff as well as a Shelter-in-Place Kit for up to 20 persons in each shelter-in-place location. While this is perhaps not possible everywhere, absolute minimum supplies include battery powered or wind-up radio (communication), flashlight and/or headtorch, first aid, long-life food and water. Also recommended are waterproof gaffa tape and either plastic sheeting or garbage bags that can be cut and taped to provide emergency seals.

Once securely at your shelter-in-place location

  • keep calm, stay behind solid objects well away from glass
  • place signs in exterior windows to identify your location where possible
  • make list of everyone in the room, their address and affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, customer…) and then call your designated emergency contact to report
  • listen to radio, watch TV or use the internet to stay informed
  • await further instructions until the all clear is given and it is safe to stand down

 

Shelter-in-place is usually resolved quickly but may last for several hours or even days.  To find out which risks are most pertinent to you see the National Risk Register  and the local risk register published by your Local Resilience Forum.  You may also find our google slides “Shelter-in-Place at work” useful for your own Emergency Preparedness.

Security, health & safety and duty of care are just some of the reasons why it makes sense to be prepared. Make appropriate plans and get the emergency kit that is right for you. If none of our standard emergency kits are suitable, simply contact us for a competitive bespoke quote. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is always happy to help and advice.

Finally, check out Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism resources and also  ‘Project Griffin’ which provides briefing events to increase public and staff awareness to business of how best to reduce and respond to the most likely types of terrorist activities. Also out now (Oct 2016) is the Independent Review of London’s Preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident.

Monika

Thank you for stopping by. See below for updates. In addition, for more resilience blog use the right hand navigation. For kit and practical resources use the top navigation. If you’re new to Emergency and Disaster Preparedness head over to our FREE resources at the Preparedness Hub and Business Preparedness.

This blog post is also accessed by http://bit.ly/lock-down.

Thank you for sharing this post    

 

 

 


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Building Community Resilience – one UK school at a time | open letter to Primary and Secondary School Headmasters

Since 2005 we have been at the forefront in championing School Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in the United Kingdom. To raise awareness and promote affordable solutions such as best practice School Resilience Package and School Emergency Grab Bags our mail campaign is here now also reproduced for wider dissemination.

Threats to Schools | best practice Emergency Management and Business Continuity

Dear Headmaster

Recent major incidents both natural (i.e. storms Desmond, Eva and Frank) and man-made (bomb threats to UK schools at home and abroad) have once again highlighted the urgent need for schools to be better prepared.

SEMP templates are problematic. Freely available templates may appear a ready solution. However, in practice they do not hold up for three main reasons:

  • not sensitive to the needs of individual schools
  • tricky and time-consuming to assemble
  • do not comply with recognized best practise standards such as existing ISO or British Standars which means a lack of robustness

Affordable solution

School Resilience Package to ISO and British Standards & School Emergency Grab Bags following NaCTSO guidelines.

For full details please visit evaq8.co.uk/schools

EVAQ8 Ltd has been at the forefront of championing School Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in the UK since 2005. As the UK’s Emergency Preparedness specialist, we look forward to being of service in all aspects of your school’s practical Emergency and Business Continuity Management to further your community’s resilience.

School Emergency Planning & Exercise - Preparedness = Resilient Communities

School Emergency Planning & Exercise | Preparedness = Resilient Communities