Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) works with the emergency services, Surrey County Council and other agencies to ensure that a co-ordinated and professional response can be provided in the event of a major emergency.
What is a Major Emergency?
A major emergency is commonly defined as any event (happening with or without warning) which may result in any of the following:
- causing or threatening death or injury
- damage to property or the environment
- disruption to the community which, because of the scale of its effects, cannot be dealt with as part of normal day-to-day activities
MVDC's role during an emergency
During emergency response, MVDC undertakes the following roles and responsibilities:
- support the emergency services
- assist people in distress
- co-ordinate the activities of its services and other agencies
- release the information to the public that has first been agreed by the police
- maintain its services to residents, as reasonably practicable
- lead the recovery effort, providing support and aftercare to residents until a state of normality or 'new' normality is returned
MVDC has a responsibility to plan for the needs of vulnerable people during times of emergency. Therefore, in accordance with the Civil Contingencies Act and in line with central government guidelines, MVDC uses elements of data secured in its various operational systems to identify potentially vulnerable people. So that, in times of emergency, that joined up data can be made accessible to appropriate staff responding to a threat and to our Emergency Services partners.
In emergency situations, MVDC may be called upon by the emergency services to assist in the response by providing a rest centre. A rest centre is a predetermined building provided by a local authority for temporary accommodation of evacuees or homeless residents, with overnight facilities. If friends and family living nearby are able to offer accommodation then this is always encouraged, however, evacuees will always be invited to visit the rest centre in the first instance.
Food and drink will be available at the rest centre, as well as personnel from both MVDC and Surrey County Council Social Care who will be available to provide support to everyone that has been affected.
There are several locations in the district that have been identified as possible rest centres in the event of an emergency:
- Dorking Halls
- Fairfield Centre (Leatherhead)
- Leatherhead Leisure Centre
MVDC can provide assistance in a number of ways, depending on the nature of the incidents
- a rest centre for evacuees and homeless survivors with overnight facilities. These are usually created with the assistance of voluntary services
- alternative accommodation
- a Survivor Reception Centre, which is a secure area in which survivors not requiring acute hospital treatment can be taken for short-term shelter ad first aid
- a Friends and Relatives Reception Centre to help reunite family and friends with survivors
- advice on dangerous structures
- information to the general public
- an Emergency Control Centre to co-ordinate the response of MVDC
The River Mole runs through the district and could potentially become a flooding risk. For flooding advice and information, please visit the following:
Severe Weather Warnings
The Met Office issues severe weather warnings when there is a 'strong likelihood of severe weather that may cause considerable inconvenience to a large number of people or present a danger to life'. For more information or if you would like to see the current warnings in force, please visit the Met Office website.
You should follow the instruction of the authorities if you are advised to evacuate your home. If your house is on fire, the advice is to get out, stay out and call the Fire and Rescue Service. For fire safety advice, please visit the Surrey Fire and Rescue website.
In most emergencies, the best advice is to 'go in, stay in and tune in'. A battery or wind-up powered radio is ideal in case the mains electricity fails. Tune in to your local radio station.
Communities that come together during extreme weather or incidents such as fuel shortages, large fires or power cuts are better off, which is why 'Surrey Prepared' has been launched. It's the first initiative to be developed by the Surrey Community Resilience Partnership (SCRP), which includes Surrey County Council, the Environment Agency and utility companies.
Surrey Prepared aims to help households and communities prepare for incidents so they are safer and better informed, as well as being stronger communities all year round.
To find out how Surrey Prepared could help you and your communities, please visit the Surrey Prepared website.