Emergencies are happening somewhere in the country almost every minute of every day. The emergency services, (police, fire, ambulance and coastguard) deal with them quickly and efficiently. These incidents can include traffic accidents, fires, medical emergencies and other serious incidents at sea or in the waters of the Solent. The local authorities do not activate their emergency plans for these incidents.
It is when a more disastrous event takes place that is beyond the capacity of the emergency services to deal with unaided that the county and district special plans are put into action. These plans are designed to support the emergency services in their difficult task.
The EPU assesses risks and hazards, prepares plans to deal with disasters and organises training exercises to ensure that Hampshire County Council Departments, the Districts and Borough Councils and other partner agencies are competent and confident to respond effectively and efficiently in a Major Emergency.
Emergency is defined in Part 1 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 as:
"An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the UK, the environment of a place in the UK or war or terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK."