Just as most people plan for emergencies by installing smoke alarms or carrying first aid boxes, agencies in Cheshire West and Chester and across the wider region plan on a larger scale to try and reduce the effects of any emergencies and ensure they are ready to respond.
The Civil Contingencies Act places a number of duties on local authorities and other agencies that it classifies as either category 1 or 2 responders.
This is to ensure that emergency planning arrangements across the UK are in place and are consistent.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is a Category 1 responder and is legally required to carry out the following activities:
Assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning.
- Put in place emergency plans.
- Put in place business continuity management arrangements.
- Put in place arrangements to make information available to the public about civil protection matters and maintain arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency.
- Share information with other local responders to enhance co-ordination.
- Co-operate with other local responders to enhance co-ordination and efficiency.
- Provide advice and assistance to business and voluntary organisations about business continuity management.
Category 2 Responders are the Health and Safety Executive, transport and utility companies. These "co-operating bodies" are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector.
Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other Category 1 and 2 responders.
Category 1 and 2 organisations have teamed up to create Local Resilience Forums (based on police areas) which help co-ordination and co-operation between responders at the local level.
More information is available on the Cheshire Local Resilience Forum website.