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Our role in an emergency

What we plan for - National and Community Risk Registers

Hertfordshire is a safe place to live. However, major incidents can occur and usually with little or no warning. The government National Risk Register provides an 'assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of different malicious and non-malicious national security risks (including natural hazards, industrial accidents, malicious attacks, and others) that may directly affect the UK and its interests over the next two years. 

North Herts Council as a category 1 organisation is part of the Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF).  The Hertfordshire LRF produces the Hertfordshire Community Risk Register  that lists the most significant risks to the whole of the county.   The Forum includes all the emergency services, local councils, health services and volunteers and is focused on reducing these risks.

The Hertfordshire Resilience partnership provides information on preparing for emergencies via their webpage 'Are you Ready for Anything?'.

North Herts Council Emergency Plan

We comply with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 which requires all councils to have emergency plans along with a number of other duties. NHC has its own confidential Resilience Plan and support plans to help the Council respond to incidents that might affect the Authority.  For security reasons these plans are classed as private and confidential and are not available to the public but a public booklet is available below which outlines the Council’s response arrangements. The Council’s response will vary according to the type of incident. The role of the Council during a major incident will include:

  • Support to the Emergency Services
  • Supporting the Local Community
  • Maintaining normal services
  • Promoting recovery and return to normality

Where possible staff roles during a major incident will be an extension of their normal working role.  The Council also has a team of staff who have volunteered to help during an incident and may assist for example by staffing an Emergency Assistance Centre. 

How we respond to emergencies

During a major incident Hertfordshire Constabulary will normally take the lead in co-ordinating the emergency response. This will involve liaison with all the organisations responding to the incident. The Council response will be led by our Incident Manager; this will be a nominated representative on behalf of the Managing Director.  The Incident Manager will call out staff as necessary once the initial level of response has been decided upon, this may include:

  • Support staff called upon to help with message taking, information distribution and general duties.
  • Establishing our Incident Control Centre to monitor the situation and co-ordinate the Council’s response. 
  • Sending a Liaison Officer, known as the Tactical or Site Liaison Officer, to the scene and a Strategic Liaison Officer to the Strategic Coordinating Group.
  • Open an Emergency Reception Centre to provide temporary accommodation for people displaced by the incident. With help from voluntary agencies and contractors we can provide food, clothing and counselling to support those affected by the incident. We can arrange alternative accommodation for those evacuated for prolonged periods of time. Different types of Reception Centres may be required for different needs (such as Survivor Reception Centre or Humanitarian Assistance Centres).
  • Assist with finding additional resources such as plant and equipment
  • Provide specialist advice and guidance such as Environmental Health advice and guidance on dangerous structures.
  • We will not provide information to the public or media regarding the incident or casualties involved but will direct all enquiries to the Police Press Officer. Casualty information will be handled by the Police Casualty Bureau.

After the emergency – Recovery

After the emergency services have initially dealt with the major incident, responsibility for its management (depending on the type of incident) may transfer from the Police to the Local Authority. Our role will be to ‘restore normality’ i.e. for individuals, the community or businesses getting back to how they were before the major incident occurred. This process may take days, months or even years depending on the severity of the incident. Sources of information on emotional support for those affected by an incident are available via the Trauma web page.

How to prepare for an emergency

To find out, see our Preparing for Emergencies page and read our booklet: