Emergency Planning Overview


Emergencies can happen at any time, often strike without warning and their cause can range from human error such as road traffic collisions, to extreme acts of nature such as large scale flooding or severe ice and snow, to criminal incidents such as terrorist attacks or arson.

Emergencies can result in:

  • Damage to property and infrastructure.
  • The loss of basic services including water, power, gas and telephone lines.
  • Evacuation from your home and neighbourhood.
  • Danger to life.

In emergency planning, the aim is to reduce the chances of these emergencies occurring and if they do occur reducing their impact on the effected people and their environment to a minimum.

Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Emergency Planning is guided by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA 2004). This Act has established a statutory framework for civil protection and community resilience at a local level. Local responders have now become an integral part of civil resilience in the UK.

The act aims to ensure that the organisations best placed to manage emergency response and recovery, are at the centre of civil protection. It achieves this by:

  • Ensuring a clear set of roles and responsibilities for emergency response and recovery which encourages and enhances cross organisational working and communication.
  • Establishing a set structure and uniformity for local emergency response and recovery activities, placing an importance on appropriate business resilience activities.
  • Establishing an agreed platform for critically assessing the effectiveness of emergency planning at a local level, with a clear focus on review and updating of plans and procedures

Emergency Planning Duties and Responsibilities

The Act establishes two different categories of responders as set out below.

Category 1 Responders

Those responders who are subject to the full set of civil protection duties and required to maintain plans for preventing emergencies; reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of emergencies; and taking other action in the event of emergencies. They should aim to maintain plans which cover 3 different areas:

  • Plans for preventing an emergency
  • Plans for reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency
  • Plans for taking other action in connection with an emergency
Category 2 Responders

Those organisations, such as the Health and Safety Executive, transport and utility companies, who are ‘co-operating bodies’. They are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work, but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their own sector. Category 2 responders have a lesser set of duties - co-operating and sharing relevant information with other Category 1 and 2 responders.