For those within the community who are interested in community resilience or are considering writing a parish emergency response plan.
What is community resilience and why is it important?
During this time, individuals and communities may need to rely on their own resources to ensure they are able to cope with the consequences of an emergency. Many communities already help one another in times of need, but previous experience has shown that those who have spent time planning and preparing for this are better able to cope, and recover more quickly. The value of planning at the community level cannot be under-estimated.
It is not about creating or identifying a whole new community network or a one-off response to or recovery from an incident, but rather an ongoing process of using and enhancing existing relationships to better improve the emergency preparedness of an area.
A working definition of community resilience is given as:
“Communities and individuals harnessing local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services.”
The Community Resilience agenda is being led by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat within the Cabinet Office, the aims of the Community Resilience Programme are to:
- Increase individual, family and community resilience against all threats and hazards;
- Support and enable existing community resilience, and expand and grow these successful models of community resilience in other areas;
- Remove the barriers which inhibit or prevent participation in community resilience at a local level;
- Support effective dialogue between the community and the practitioners supporting them;
- Raise awareness and understanding of risk and the local emergency response capability in order to motivate and sustain self resilience;
- Provide tools to allow communities and individuals to articulate the benefits of emergency preparedness to the wider community; and
- Provide a shared framework to support cross-sector activity at all levels in a way that ensures sufficient flexibility to make community resilience relevant and workable in each local community.
Within Hampshire County Council we are keen to encourage communities especially parishes to write their own community emergency plans. It is important however, to remember there is no statutory responsibility for town and parish councils to plan for, respond to, or recover from emergencies. However it is good practice for communities to identify hazards and make simple plans on how they may respond when faced with an emergency.
The parish can help before or during an incident or emergency :
- By identifying local risks, resources and vulnerable groups
- By using local resources to help in the response by providing support to emergency services
- By helping those that are vulnerable and by providing care, support, information or practical help
- By initiating a crisis management group to provide a point of contact and determine priorities
- Maintaining communications within the community and with the District Council
- Managing the response of Parish voluntary organisations
- Representing the community
- Assisting with community recovery
- Assisting with managing emergency funds
The Resilient Community
- People in resilient communities use their existing skills, knowledge and resources to prepare for, and deal with, the consequences of emergencies or major incidents.
- They adapt their everyday skills and use them in extraordinary circumstances.
- People in resilient communities are aware of the risks that may affect them. They understand the links between risks assessed at a national level and those that exist in their local area, and how this might make them vulnerable. This helps them to take action to prepare for the consequences of emergencies.
- The resilient community has a champion, someone who communicates the benefits of community resilience to the wider community. Community resilience champions use their skills and enthusiasm to motivate and encourage others to get involved and stay involved and are recognised as trusted figures by the community.
- Resilient communities work in partnership with the emergency services, their local authority and other relevant organisations before, during and after an emergency. These relationships ensure that community resilience activities complement the work of the emergency services and can be undertaken safely.
- Resilient communities consist of resilient individuals who have taken steps to make their homes and families more resilient. Resilient individuals are aware of their skills, experience and resources and how to deploy these to best effect during an emergency.
- Members of resilient communities are actively involved in influencing and making decisions affecting them. They take an interest in their environment and act in the interest of the community to protect assets and facilities.