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Emergency Planning

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In this section:

The Joint Emergency Planning Unit is provided by West Berkshire Council in partnership with Bracknell Forest Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, ensuring a consistent approach to emergency planning and response across all three areas.

The service co-ordinates the readiness and ability of each of these council's to respond to emergencies. It also works with communities, individuals and businesses to help them to prepare for an emergency, working with them during the response and recovery from emergencies.

Our objectives

The Joint Emergency Planning Unit's objectives are to:

  • Ensure we deliver our statutory obligations under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004
  • Assess the risks which could affect the council area and use this to inform the priority of planning and allocation of resources. Details of the community risk register can be found on the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum website
  • Ensure there are plans in place to allow the council to respond effectively to support the communities affected
  • Provide training and exercising opportunities to ensure staff understand their roles in an emergency
  • Support individuals, businesses and communities so they can be better prepared and more self-reliant during emergencies

To achieve these objectives we work with several other organisations that may also respond to an emergency. In particular, we work in partnership with the other Berkshire Councils and the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum. This forum allows all local, national and specialist responders to work together to identify risks, work on plans and processes to mitigate the risks and respond to emergencies as effectively as possible.

Types of Emergencies

Emergencies happen all the time and are managed routinely by the relevant agencies and companies, including emergency services, utility companies, transport companies and the council.

Some emergencies, often known as 'Major Incidents', require a large scale response by one or more agencies. A multi-agency response can involve a wide range of responders, including Thames Valley Police, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Central Ambulance Service, National Highways, the Environment Agency, the UK Health Security Agency, hospitals, utility companies and many more.

Major incidents can include:

  • Severe weather, such as wide-spread flooding, extreme cold or extreme heat
  • Infectious diseases, such as flu
  • Industrial accidents
  • Acts of terrorism

Planning for emergencies

We undertake a risk review for the Council area at least every year. This takes account of the National Risk Register, along with a local review of risks with other partners including the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

On identifying potential risks, we consider anything already in place to prevent emergencies happening and consider anything else which may be necessary, including response plans. We have a generic Major Incident Response Framework which allows us to be flexible in our response to accommodate any emergency. However, it may be that specific risk or site specific plans are necessary. When developing plans, we work across the Council services and check with other agencies, such as the emergency services, Environment Agency and our neighbouring councils, to ensure all our emergency plans complement one another.

In addition to developing plans we also undertake training and exercises, some of which will include other agencies. This is to ensure that staff and other agencies understand what is necessary and their role.

What else do we do?

Our work isn't just about planning for emergencies but also involves specific work that reduces the risks of emergencies happening. These include:

Event Advice

We provide information and advice concerning events planned to take place. These events range from small local fairs to larger sporting or entertainment events, agricultural or military shows and carnivals. 

Community Resilience

We actively promote and support communities, schools, care providers, businesses and individuals to be prepared and have plans. See our advice and guidance on preparing for emergencies for more information. You can also look at GOV.UK's Prepare Campaign to help you prepare for emergencies, be more informed about hazards, and get involved in activities to support yourself and your community before, during and after an emergency.


Visit the pages below for further information and guidance related to threats within the council's area:

Report an Emergency Happening Now

How to contact us during and outside of office hours, as well as other organisations to contact in different emergencies.

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)

Find out about AWE and what to do in an emergency.

Safety Advisory Group (SAG)

Safety Advisory Groups are made up of representatives from each local authority, emergency services and other relevant bodies, who meet at regular intervals, or when necessary, to review event applications and advise on public safety.

Shelter and Evacuation

Advice on what to do in the event of an emergency shelter and/or evacuation.

Terrorism and Threat Levels

Information about terrorism and what the threat levels mean.

Business Continuity

Helping your organisation continue to operate effectively after disruptive incidents

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