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Accidents, emergencies and safety

In the first instance, always go to most relevant emergency service or agency for assistance:

What is an emergency?

An emergency is something that needs special arrangements to deal with it. They can occur on a small or large scale, and can happen at any time. For example:
  • Flooding and other severe weather
  • Serious transport accidents
  • Major crime or terrorism
  • Explosion, fire, industrial accident, oil spill
  • Shortage of supplies, such as water or power
  • Infectious disease outbreak

Role of the local authority

The main function of North Devon Council during the initial stages of a major emergency is to maintain normal council services, whilst still providing support to the emergency services.

As the incident develops and moves into the recovery stage, the local authority will begin to take more of a leading role. This is likely to have several phases, spread over a short, medium and long term, depending on the type of incident. For example:
  • providing advice on temporary accommodation if needed
  • offering advice on the structural safety of buildings affected by flooding
  • issuing any environmental health and public health advice
  • Keeping the public up to date
  • Rebuilding and restoring the community
  • Responding to and supporting the community
  • Managing any relevant financial implications

Emergency planning

Preparation and emergency planning are key to the success of dealing with any major incidents. This doesn't just involve emergency services, local authorities and partner organisations, but also all individuals and communities.

Devon County Councilexternal website also has emergency planning responsibilities. They produce joint strategic emergency response plans and also co-ordinate the county council's response to a major emergency, in conjunction with the emergency services, major utilities and other local authorities.

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