Blog: “Emergency planning is a real partnership approach – which includes understanding the needs of the public.”
In the middle of an already difficult winter – which has seen soaring energy costs and severe weather alongside increasing pressures on our health services – Ian Voce, Business Manager for the Merseyside Resilience Forum (MRF) shares his experience of how the region prepares for emergencies and why he wants to hear from residents.
“I work as part of the MRF, a multi-agency partnership for Merseyside. It’s made up of local councils – Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – the NHS, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Merseyside Police, the North West Ambulance Service and utility providers to name but a few. All of these agencies work together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies that happen locally.
The MRF started in 2005 after the Government issued an act of parliament called the Civil Contingencies Act – which meant we had to create multi-agency plans and prepare for a variety of emergencies that could affect our communities.
During emergencies we work together to focus on the needs of those directly affected – including vulnerable people and those who are responding to the emergency.
The MRF partnership has developed a range of plans, which are tested regularly to help us manage emergencies and reduce the impact on people, their homes, communities, the environment and local businesses.
Some of key themes we are supporting on this winter include:
The impact of winter infections – similar to what we experienced during the Covid pandemic, where the virus spread really quickly and severely impacted on the health and social care system.
Severe weather and flooding caused by storms.
Snow and ice causing disruption to public transport, road networks and the delivery of essential services.
Loss of infrastructure such as gas, electricity, water, food, and telecommunications (including internet and WiFi) – and the consequences to our day-to-day routines.
Cyber-attacks – which apart from causing immediate impact, could lead to longer term issues in delivering critical services.
The MRF is currently developing a public version of our Community Risk Register (CRR) – which will share information about the risks in your area and the ways in which they can be prepared for.
We have started to look at how this information can be made more accessible to everyone – especially children, and vulnerable people, and have started reviewing how we and our partners share messages.
We’ve recently launched a survey to help us develop plans and improve how we can deliver clear and relevant messages across our communities, partners and stakeholders – both internally and externally.
By filling in the questionnaire, local residents can let us know what they already understand about preparing for an emergency and how they would like to be informed of potential risks within their community – which could include something as simple as letting us know which communication channels or services they already use and value.