Fire

Resilience and civil contingency: twelve months ago Home Secretary David Blunkett set out the improvements in contingency planning and announced the next steps in improving resilience. In a Home Office update 'considerable progress' is reported to have been made to have in place plans to cover a wide range of both civil emergencies and terrorist attacks.(Resilience)

Since the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease and the September 11 atrocily, we have been planning for larger-scale challenges and at the time of my last update to the House, substantial progress had already been made. A horizon scanning capability had been established within the Cabinet Office to anticipate and prepare for the potential impact of any large scale incident, and this complemented the work of the joint Intelligence Committee in providing assessments on domestic and overseas terrorist threats.

Guidance had been published on decontamination of people following a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident for use by the emergency services and other responders, and a UK national stockpile of countermeasures had been established before the end of 2001 including antibiotics, antidotes, and respiratory support equipment in strategic locations around the UK.

In London, the London Resilience Forum had been established to drive forward the resilience agenda bringing together representatives from the emergency services, local government, military, transport, utilities, health sector and business. Substantial progress had been made, and plans for a range of contingencies now exist including new pan-London command and control arrangements and a well-developed programme of exercises.

ORGANISATION

The programme of work of enhance the key generic resilience capabilities, co-ordinated within the Civil Contingencies Secretarial in the Cabinet Office, remains the core framework through which the Government are seeking to build resilience access all parts of the UK. This centrally led programme constitutes an efficient and effective way of harnessing the expertise and resources that already exist within government without duplicating or creating new structures. The programme has expanded in the past 12 months and now comprises 17 separate workstreams: Central response; Regional response; Local response; Essential services--DoH; Essential services--DEFRA; Essential services--HMT; Essential services--DFT; Essential services--DTI; CBRN Resilience; Assessment of risk and consequence; Mass casualties; Treatment of infectious diseases (human); Treatment of infectious diseases (animal and plant); Mass evacuation; Warning and informing; Mass fatalities; and Site clearance. …

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