Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service this week held a special briefing session for contacts in the ‘Whitchurch Community Emergency Plan’. Emergencies happen and being prepared is essential to deal with the worst, whether it be severe weather, fuel shortages, fires and explosions or a pandemic flu outbreak. Station Manager Mike Woods from the Service, in a very informative presentation, explained the importance of Community Resilience which can be defined 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.”
Under the direction of local town councillor Mike Kean, Whitchurch has been to the foremost of locations in Hampshire in creating an Emergency Plan. Present were invited representatives of the local schools, the Town Council, the Surgery, the Town Website, Whitchurch Association and the Gill Nethercott Centre, the Parish Hall, and the Neighbourhood Plan.
How communities assist
Mike Woods set out the structure of emergency planning in the County and how local communities can assist. Given the greater pressures on funding is is becoming much more important that local resources can be harnessed if required. An example is the Gill Nethercott Centre which is one of 63 Rest Centres throughout the County, where people could be moved to should there be need for an evacuation.
Julie James, Senior Emergency Planning Officer at Hampshire County Council also explained how all services and communities work together for the best result and that the County is proud about how its services all cooperate.
There is also a comprehensive programme of visiting schools, and running workshops and promotions.
Meanwhile John Dowd, Business Support Officer from the Fire and Rescue Service has been visiting local businesses who are crucial in the case of an emergency situation, for example if supplies were cut to the area. John still has more places to visit and welcomes contact:
Call him on 023 9285 5180 or 07918 887 854
Emergency exercise to be held
The Whitchurch Community Emergency Plan is now being updated and in the new year the Fire and Rescue Service will be staging a mock emergency exercise in the Town to ‘test’ the Plan out.