Emergency Assistance Centres

Should an emergency arise you may decide to self-evacuate or could be told by the Emergency Services to evacuate your house. It is likely that the police will oversee your evacuation. In the event of evacuation you may be directed to a North Hertfordshire Emergency Assistance Centre managed and run by NHDC staff volunteers supported, if necessary, by Hertfordshire County Council and voluntary organisations.

Evacuation - Be prepared

Home Security

If you leave your home, if appropriate, turn off your gas, water and electricity supplies and lock your doors and windows before you leave.

Be Prepared

  • Keep a half tank of fuel in your car
  • Find out about your local bus stops / routes
  • Decide in advance as part of your Emergency Plan places where you could evacuate to and where you would meet up with other family members
  • You may be asked to go to a specific Emergency Assistance Centre or decide to go to a friend’s or relative’s home away from the area Make sure all members of your family / group know the location of where you are going in case you are separated
  • Check with any neighbours that may need assistance

Take With You

  • Emergency kit
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Medication and prescription glasses
  • Documentation
  • Pets with leads / carriers

Types of Emergency Assistance Centres

The types of centres that may need to be established, depending on the emergency involved, include:

Reception/Rest Centre

A centre with overnight facilities used by the Local Authority for the temporary accommodation of people displaced by an emergency.

Family and Friends Reception Centre

A centre used to help reunite family and friends with survivors from an incident. It will provide the capacity to register, interview and provide shelter for family and friends.

Survivor Reception Centre

The Survivor Reception Centre is a secure area in which survivors not requiring acute hospital treatment can be taken for short-term shelter and first aid. Information will usually be gathered by police documentation teams and interviews undertaken where necessary. The Survivor Reception Centre may initially be established and run by the emergency services, who are usually first on the scene, until the Local Authority becomes involved in the response and takes the lead in providing the facility.

Longer Term Assistance - Humanitarian Assistance Centre

In contrast to the centres above, which may be used immediately following an incident, the role of the Humanitarian Assistance Centre is to provide longer term assistance and act as a one-stop-shop for survivors, families, friends and all those affected by a major emergency by bringing together a number of agencies that can offer support, care and advice.

Within the Centre

At first the Emergency Assistance Centre you are asked to go to may not be fully established and therefore you may need to be patient. You will be asked to provide some details such as your name and address and next of kin details so that they can be passed to a central database. The details are needed as your friends and relations may phone the ‘helpline’, normally given out on the television, to find out if you are safe. The helpline then matches your details with the enquiries received about you.

Depending on how long you will be required to stay at the centre, North Hertfordshire District Council will provide improved facilities, which could include sleeping facilities, appropriate hot food etc. At the Reception Centre basic catering facilities will be available at first and, depending on how long you will need to stay, these may need to be upgraded. The facilities could include hot food, bedding, welfare facilities, televisions, and most importantly the provision of information about your situation. North Hertfordshire District Council will provide these facilities for as long as required to ensure your safety.

At first it will be a very stressful environment. Therefore, you will be asked to ensure you are courteous to our staff and other evacuees. Those who display anti-social behaviour may be asked to leave the centre by the Police.

We will endeavour to provide as much information as we can in appropriate forms. However, it is very likely that information at first will be very vague and unconfirmed. We will therefore only provide accurate information when we receive it. This we recognise may be a source of frustration but we feel is better than speculation.

Pets and Reception Centres

You may not be able to take your pets inside the Emergency Assistance Centre. To help prepare for emergencies consider in advance if you would you be able to go to family or friends to stay instead and, if you are not around when an emergency occurs, plan who could look after or evacuate your pet for you and discuss the plan with them. Decide upon locations where you could meet in the event of an emergency.  Further guidance is available via the sites below:

Hertfordshire Resilience leaflet with advice on how to care for your pets in an emergency

National Animal Welfare Trust