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.
- Hold a table-top exercise to validate the plan (the Emergency Planning Unit can help you).
- Send a copy of your plan to the Emergency Planning Unit along with the emergency contact information form (doc format, 35Kb).
- Parish and Town Clerks will receive an annual survey which provides an opportunity to update contact information and status of community emergency plans.
Community emergency planning guidance
Oxfordshire County Council follows the UK Government guidance, toolkit and templates for Community Emergency Plans, which can be found on
Please see below our suite of resilience leaflets for more information.
- Community emergency plans (pdf format, 316Kb)
- Coping with disaster and personal crisis (pdf format, 224Kb)
- Emergency reception centre (pdf format, 255Kb)
- Snow guide (pdf format, 430Kb)
- Utility failure (pdf format, 392Kb)
- National Severe Weather Warning Service for monitoring no registration necessary.
- Met Office for weather forecasts
- Department of Health Heatwave plans for the UK and additional heat wave publications
- Oxfordshire road salting route
- Highway Code – Driving in adverse weather conditions
- Highways Agency - Driving in severe weather leaflet (pdf format, 1.6MB)
Flooding / drought
- RSPCA advice for animal owners on actions to take to prepare animals for floods
- Food Standards Agency advice on eating after flooding
- Environment Agency for information on drought
- link to advice in five documents with reference to volunteering.
- ‘Are You Ready?’ booklet (.pdf format, 1.5 Mb), to help individuals and families prepare for emergencies.
- Message in a bottle
- Preparing for Emergencies: Guide for communities (pdf format, 142Kb)
- Community Emergency Plan Toolkit (docx format, 46Kb)