Community resilience

Support and guidance for Oxfordshire residents.

Why is community emergency planning important?

Our emergency services will always have to prioritise people in greatest need during an emergency, especially where life is in danger.

Individuals and communities may need to rely on their own resources to ensure they are able to cope and to minimise the impact of an emergency.

Experience has shown that those who have spent time planning and preparing for this are better able to cope, and recover more quickly.

Community emergency planning enables groups to provide more effective support. It also provides information to responding agencies (emergency services, local authority etc.) in coordinating the response on a wider scale.

How to develop a community emergency plan

Oxfordshire County Council has produced Community Emergency Planning guidance, together with a plan template and an example for guidance.

Simple community emergency plans are designed to achieve the following:

  • Identification of safe places to use as a refuge for people displaced from their homes in the short term (hours) and how to open them at short notice at any time. These are known as ‘Survivor Reception Centre’s’ by emergency services and it would help if this terminology could be used in your plan.
  • Identification of people that can and are willing to help in an emergency.
  • Identification of equipment that might be useful for self-help in an emergency.
  • Identification of vulnerable or potentially vulnerable people in the community.
  • A list of useful contacts for use in a crisis.

A number of communities have already produced their own plans for specific emergencies; flood plans developed with the Environment Agency being the most notable example.

In most cases the information compiled in the development of these plans would be useful in a number of different emergency scenarios and we recommend that you consider the production of a general emergency plan.

Where communities have particular vulnerabilities, for example, flooding or are cut off in snow, additional information may be useful in the form of an annex to the plan.

Next steps

Community emergency planning guidance

Oxfordshire County Council follows the UK Government guidance, toolkit and templates for Community Emergency Plans, which can be found on

Oxfordshire BeReady

Please see below our suite of resilience leaflets for more information.


More resources

  • Thames Valley Resilience Forum was established by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, placing a duty on public sector organisations – local authorities and emergency services, to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency. The borders of the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum match those of Thames Valley Police and cover an area of the 2,200 square miles of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Milton Keynes.
  • Helping individuals and families prepare for emergencies using the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum ‘Are You Ready?’ booklet
  • Message in a bottle