2. Communities Prepared

Getting prepared for incidents and emergencies in your community can significantly reduce the impacts, and support the recovery for you and your neighbours.

By following a few simple steps below you can be sure not to be surprised by the unexpected and stay safe if an incident occurs, for examples of what can be achieved visit our case studies pages. You can also visit our YouTube channel for videos on how you can be prepared.

Great! You’ve made it this far so must be keen to make a difference in your community and chances are that others will too.

The first step is to check if there are already local emergency initiatives near you, your local Parish or Town Council will be able to help with this. If you’re unsure, contact us.

If you find there’s need for a new initiative, recruit some neighbours to help you get started – you can’t look out for everyone and yourself at the same time. Once you’ve got a group together, start by deciding what you are trying to achieve.

Top tips!

  • Consider the risks and what you could do now to reduce the impacts
  • Are some areas or particular residents in your community more vulnerable than others?
  • What resources do you have and how could you best work together?

Don’t forget to consider the impact on pets or livestock that would be affected, see our Animals Prepared information for advice.

Once you have done this, promote the plans in your community and regularly check back to make sure they’re still suitable.

Once you have a plan, think about what you need to make it work. Discuss this with your group and the local community to make sure everyone knows what to do and what they can expect.

Top tips!

  • The safety of your group is most important. How will you look after each other if responding to an incident?
  • Consider your communication methods. How will your group keep in contact with each other and your community?
  • Think about triggers, what would it take for you to activate your plan?

If you require equipment in your plan, consider where it’s stored, who can access it and importantly who can use it safely.

Once you have done this, test your plans to make sure they’re achievable – you should then be ready to respond in the event of an incident.

Remember, always stay safe. In an immediate emergency or where there is a risk to life, follow the advice of the emergency services or phone 999.

Put your plans into action, but remember you are not on your own – tell the responsible agencies if you are affected by an incident – they are all there to support you.

Incidents and emergencies are disruptive and distressing to those affected, with the recovery process being equally about practical tasks and emotional wellbeing.

Recovery can be a good opportunity to highlight the impacts of potential incidents as well as to build on community spirit and resilience.

Top tips!

  • Act as a local source of information for community members, let them know how you can help
  • Promote community cohesion by facilitating activity and tasks that everyone can get involved in
  • Use the experience to learn lessons, were there impacts you weren’t expecting?

The local authorities have provisions in place to support you and your communities through the challenges of recovering from emergencies, much of which will be made available in the event of an incident. If you’ve been affected by an incident and want to find out more about services available, see Somerset County Council Health & Wellbeing