What is an emergency?
As defined by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA) an emergency is an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment or an act of war or terrorism that threatens serious damage to UK security.
Major emergencies include:
- Extreme weather (flooding, storms)
- Infectious disease outbreak.
- Incidents that affect public safety (terrorism, major crime)
- Serious transport incidents (tanker crash, train crash, plane crash)
Find out more on the Kent Prepared website
Sometimes you or someone you know, may need a bit of additional assistance, especially in the event of a water shortage or power outage. Water, gas and electricity companies offer a range of free priority services to help
Who can receive extra support
- If you rely on medical equipment
- If you have refrigerated medicines
- If you have a serious or chronic illness
- If you have a disability
- If you or someone you care for is living with dementia
- If you are of pensionable age
- If you have children under five in your household
- If you need extra support for a short time period (for example - if you are recovering from medical treatment or have suffered a bereavement)
For further information and to sign up to a priority services register visit your utility company's website.
Before an emergency occurs, we ensure that we are fully prepared to support the emergency services in responding. We work to mitigate the impacts and to support the community affected in the recovery to normal life. The Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) splits emergency responders into 2 categories dependent on their involvement in emergency planning and response:
- Category 1 responders (e.g. local authorities, emergency services and environment agency) are involved in the core emergency planning and response.
- Category 2 responders (e.g. utilities companies and transport companies) are heavily involved when the emergency affects their sector.
Under the CCA Maidstone Borough Council, as a Category 1 responder, has the following duties:
- To assess the local risks that need to be planned for.
- To develop and maintain emergency plans and business continuity plans to respond to incidents within Maidstone.
- To warn, inform and advise the public before, during and after emergencies have occurred.
- To share information and work with other agencies to ensure effective planning and coordination of response.
- Promote business continuity to local businesses.
What can we do?
- Coordinate our response with the Kent Resilience Forum which includes other local authorities, the emergency services, the voluntary sector, and parish councils.
- We have the following in place to support our communities and other responding agencies:
- Activate the Borough Emergency Centre to co-ordinate our response
- Set up welfare centres to provide temporary shelter, food, and information to anyone evacuated from the scene of a major incident
- Provide advice and temporary accommodation for residents who are unable to return to their homes.
- Provide specialist advice on the structural stability of buildings.
- Providing information, advice, and support to the public during emergencies through our website, social media, and other media.
- Assist in cleaning up areas affected by a major incident.
We meet regularly with other agencies (both category1 and category 2 responders) to ensure planning and response to any incident is effectively coordinated.
Preparing for emergencies – Households
While we all hope that we do not have to experience a serious emergency, it is important to be prepared and know how to react if there is one.
We maintain a Major Emergency Plan for the borough which enables us to coordinate our efforts in the most effective ways and make decisions that help support the community. Within our emergency plan, we have ensured that resources and experienced people are on standby to respond when a major crisis occurs.
A major emergency could happen at any time and may take you by surprise, but you can be prepared by putting together an emergency plan for your family or household.
For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, please have a look at the Kent Prepared website.
Make a household emergency plan
It is difficult to predict what type of emergency you could face, but whatever happens could disrupt your life and leave you isolated from immediate help.
A household emergency plan can help you deal quickly and effectively with a stressful situation. Get your whole family involved in writing the plan so they are prepared too. To compose your plan, ask yourselves a list of key questions and record the answers.
Here is a link to examples of what your household plan could cover.
Ideas for an emergency ‘grab bag’
A grab-bag contains some of the things that will help you to survive in or outside your home if you should need to leave because of an emergency.
You may want to take all or some of these items:
- Essential/prescribed medication, plus asthma and respiratory aids
- Hearing aids
- Spectacles, contact lenses
- Useful phone numbers
- Mobile phone and charger
- House and car keys
- Money, credit cards
- First aid kit
- Basic toiletries e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary towels
- Baby and small children supplies
- Food, formula, drink
- Change of clothing
- Toys, books, activities
- Bottled drinking water
- Can opener
- Clothing & Equipment
- Wind and rainproof clothing
- Strong outdoors shoes
- Waterproof torch, spare batteries (check regularly) Consider a wind-up model
- Radio, spare batteries (check regularly) Consider a wind-up model
- Copies of insurance documents
- Anti-bacterial hand wipes/gel
- Blankets, sleeping bags
- Sun hats, sunscreen
- Toilet paper
- Rubbish bags
- Thermos flasks
- Pet supplies
During an emergency
If you are involved in a major emergency, you can help yourself to stay safe by following instructions that the emergency services give you.
Contacts during emergencies
You might find it helpful to keep the following telephone numbers with your grab-bag to use in the case of an emergency:
- Emergency Services on 999
- Non-Emergency Police on 101
- NHS on 111
- Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321
- Environment Agency Enquiries on 0370 850 6506
- Floodline on 0345 988 1188
- UK Power Networks on 0845 601 4516
- UK Power Networks during a power cut on 105 or 0800 316 3105
- Maidstone Borough Council on 01622 602000
Email the emergency planning and resilience team firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find more information on our Flooding advice page.