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Communities encouraged to increase their resilience with the Emergency Contact Hub scheme

Local communities are being encouraged to join the Local Resilience Forum's Emergency Contact Hub scheme.

Published 11 March 2024

Local communities are being encouraged to join the Local Resilience Forum's Emergency Contact Hub scheme.

Emergency Contact Hubs provide a place where the community can go to help each other in the event of an emergency. Primarily they are designed to enable communities to help themselves, but also to provide a link to emergency services in the local area. Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and emergency services will know where all hubs are located and how to contact them.

Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council support the initiative, which has worked well in other countries and across Wiltshire, building on the good work already taking place in local communities.

The hubs will become 'active' in emergency situations like flooding, fires, or widespread damage to utilities. It is up to communities to decide when to activate their hub and they do not need to seek authorisation from emergency services. Communities can publicise the activation of hubs through social media, posters in community spaces and shops, and by notifying local community groups.

Each hub will be different, but they will generally provide warmth and shelter, welfare provision, information, resources, and volunteers to help respond to the incident and coordinate support locally.

Nearly any building used by the community can become an Emergency Contact Hub in an emergency, such as the local pub, community hall or church. The scheme is based on communities initially looking after themselves in an emergency. The hub could take on several different roles such as a warm space, food bank or logistics centre, with the assistance of emergency responders as and when required. Communities don't need to have an established group to run the hub, as they can be staffed by any community members as and when the hub is required.

The Local Resilience Forum (LRF), known publicly as 'Wiltshire and Swindon Prepared' is delivering this scheme. The LRF is a multi-agency group focusing on collaborative preparation, response and recovery for emergencies and major incidents. Some of its key members are Wiltshire Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council, NHS, Environment Agency and local utility companies.

Perry Holmes, Chair of the Local Resilience Forum, said: "Emergency Contact Hubs is a model of increasing community resilience which has been used effectively in other countries. We are confident that it will increase community resilience and collaboration between local communities, councils, and emergency services.

"A unique benefit of the model is that it enables an almost immediate local response to small and large-scale incidents to help ensure people are kept safe and any impact of emergencies on communities are minimised. Emergency Contact Hubs do this by bringing together a range of people from across the community, all keen to help one another. The local knowledge and connections of people running the hub enables residents to get help early and will also support the council's and emergency services' immediate and long-term response to incidents.

"We're really keen to see Emergency Contact Hubs set up in all communities across Wiltshire and Swindon. We will support anyone looking to set up a hub, and people interested can find out more on our website at Wiltshire & Swindon prepared: Emergency Contact Hubs (opens new window)"

People interested in setting up an Emergency Contact Hub for their area are encouraged to contact (opens new window).

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