Civil Emergencies - Immediate Response Support
Disasters happen with or without warning, causing or threatening death or injury, damage to property or the environment or disruption to the community. The County Council is involved in the immediate response to an emergency where there are significant human or environmental concerns, and will gradually assume a greater responsibility once the immediate response by the emergency services is finished and there is a focus on recovery.
The County Council has staff available to work in the immediate response phase. Structures, responsibilities and duties are laid out in the Devon County Council Emergency Welfare Plan and Welfare Handbook. Staff are trained in their roles and will undertake the management and staffing of Rest Centres and Humanitarian Assistance Centres. We also assist the Police at Evacuation Assembly Points, Survivor Reception Centres and Friends and Family Reception Centres. In all these roles we are offered valuable support by the Voluntary Sector
All of our plans and guidance, including these for Emergency Rest Centres have been drawn up in the context of the County Council's commitment to equality and diversity.
Rest Centres are set up in response to an evacuation, where there is no immediate possibility of people returning to their own homes. The primary function of a Rest Centre is to provide shelter, warmth, refreshments, and emotional support, and to assist evacuees to return to their own homes, or on to temporary accommodation arranged by the District Council. Rest Centres are staffed by volunteers from the County Council's Social Care Services and the Voluntary Agencies.
Evacuation Assembly Points
These will be set up and managed by the Police to gather together those people requiring evacuation to the Emergency Rest Centres, or who need transport out of the area being evacuated. The Police are assisted by Social Care volunteers and Voluntary Agencies, who offer social care and support.
Survivor and Friends and Family Reception Centres
In the event of a major disaster, the Police are responsible for establishing and managing these Centres, and will allocate a Family Liaison Officer to the families of the deceased. These officers are responsible for the provision of all support to the families.
The Crisis Support Team, consisting of volunteers from Social Care, Health and related agencies will assist the Police in these Centres, providing additional emotional support to those people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in need of comfort and professional support. Assisted by voluntary agencies trained for this scenario, our volunteers will do as much as is practicably possible to offer help and guidance.
Longer term support would be provided by the Health community, either through GP surgeries or dedicated Adult Mental Health Teams.
Also on devon.gov.uk