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Responding to emergencies

There is an agreed national framework for managing the local multi-agency response to, and recovery from, emergencies. This chapter describes the single-agency and multi-agency management tiers that comprise the local framework; their roles and responsibilities; the interaction between the tiers; and the interaction between individual agencies within the tiers.

Command, Control and Co-ordination are important concepts in the multi-agency response to emergencies and this chapter distinguishes between single agency command and control structures (often termed Gold, Silver and Bronze) and the multi-agency co-ordination structures that may be convened at Strategic, Tactical and, exceptionally, at Operational levels.

It is a generic framework and the principles and procedures underpinning it are flexible enough to be used to manage a wide range of emergencies. However, further guidance is given on the considerations that may apply in relation to:

The effective management of most emergencies will require access to specialist scientific and technical advice. During the response to an emergency, local responders in England are advised to consider establishing a Science and Technical Advice Cell (STAC) to provide timely and co-ordinated advice on scientific and technical issues.

In Wales, public health advice for Strategic Co-ordinating Groups is provided by Health Advisory Teams (HATs). The National Public Health Service for Wales takes the lead in the establishment of the HAT.

The Government operates a scheme of emergency financial assistance (Bellwin) to assist local authorities in covering costs that occur as a result of work related to the response phase of emergencies.

De-briefing should be honest and open, and its results disseminated widely.

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