Eileen Grant resilience by mikeholy



                         A CIWEM & CMS Conference

          Emergency Response and Planning
                    for Flooding
               Embedding the Lessons
                     December 4th 2008 London

The aim of this conference is to explore and test how well the lessons
from the summer floods of 2007 are being applied to emergency
response and planning. The conference will look at the change and
measures required in both action planning and National Flood
Framework to embed the lessons into routine delivery.

A conference organised by CMS – Coastal Management for Sustainability in partnership with CIWEM
                    Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                     4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Prompted by Hurricane Katrina in 2006 CIWEM organised what was to many the first conference between the
blue light sector and flood risk managers from the water sector concerning emergency planning and flooding.
The discussions were prophetic given the summer flooding events of 2007. The need for effective collaboration
between emergency responders to flooding is now fully understood.

The aim of this conference is to critically explore and test how well the lessons from the summer floods of 2007
are being applied to emergency response and planning. The conference will look at the change and
measures required in both action planning and legislation to embed the lessons in to routine delivery.
Objectives - Outcomes
       To share and understand the change required and measures needed to improve emergency planning
        and response to flooding in the context of emergency planning in general
       To highlight the need for action in seven critical areas of work
       To explore how lessons can be embedded in good practice using the opportunities provided by the
        Government‟s Action Plan and legislative programme

A number of themes outlined below have been identified which are critical to the successful implementation
of emergency response measures and planning in relation to the future.

Predicting flooding There was no doubt that the scale of the summer floods in 2007 took the emergency
services by surprise. The Met Office and Environment Agency are developing flood prediction tools but will
these be up to the job? This session will test whether it is realistic to expect much more from flood prediction
tools and confidence that can be placed in predictions.

Warning systems for the public In 2007 the Environment Agency‟s warning system was fully tested and it
worked well. Appropriate behavioural response to warnings is however key to the effectiveness of this system.
Much is predicated on an overall level of awareness of the public in particular locations of the risk from
flooding. This session will highlight the future challenges take-up, the need to achieve appropriate behavioural
responses and customisation of messages.

Communications with the public There was considerable pressure on the emergency response teams to
communicate with the public before, during and after an incident. There are now many positive lessons to be
learned. Serious flooding incidents are now common place and this session will cover the key lessons and
evidence base of what worked well and those issues that need to be further developed.

Communications – during an event – between responders (level 1 & 2) What the summer floods and other
major incidents continue to highlight is a range of difficulties and inconsistencies with communications systems
within and between responding organisations. This session will explore the lessons that have been learnt, look at
changes that have been put in place and highlight best practice (MoUs, protocols, systems).

Adequacy of command structures – did they work? It is now evident that there are very different styles of the
operation of command structures used by different responders often depending upon the culture of the
organisation. Evidence from exercises and the floods in 2007 suggest that there is a need to look at this area
more closely. This session will explore what more can be done to understand best practice and how this can
be used more routinely.

Risk appetite - with limited resources The Pitt Review highlights the need for an increase pace of change in
response to the threat of flooding. Government will need to mediate the pace of response and its affordability
probably by using risk based measures for assessing priorities for investment. How can emergency services
(LRFs) and government plan for emergencies to a sensible degree and in a way that is transparent (&
acceptable/ affordable) to the public?

Embedding the lessons: The Government Action Plan and the National Flood Framework The Pitt review has
lead to the Government‟s commitment to produce an Action Plan, which this includes a commitment to new
legislation in terms of a Flooding and Water Bill. It is clear that amendments will also be necessary to the Civil
Contingencies Act, Reservoirs Act and Climate change bill. This session will explore what further legislative
measures are required to implement the emergency planning and response parts of the Pitt review.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London


The format for the meeting 50% of the time will be allocated to short presentations covering key
perspectives and 50% will be allocated to questions and answers. The idea behind these
presentations by a wide range of stakeholders would be to share strong/critical expert perspectives
of the key changes required and measures that need to be implemented with a view to the
Government/Defra Action Plan and Flooding and Water Bill and Civil Contingencies Act. This
assumes the audience have a clear idea of what the topic entails and their interest in the
developing agenda.
9.45 Session 1 Welcome – The current context Chairman: David Rooke Environment Agency

9.50    Predicting flooding - Met Office-EA collaboration
        Presentation      20 mins   Sophie Purdey Environment Agency & Paul Davies Met Office
        Discussion        20 mins

10.30   Warning systems for emergency services
        Presentation 1     10 mins     Developing the Environment Agency warning system weather
        alerts & flood warning services Craig Woolhouse Environment Agency
        Presentation 2     10 mins    “The current warning system could do better – 10 things that
        are needed –                    Mary Dhonau, National Flood Forum
        Discussion         20 mins

11.10 Communications with the public, before, during and after the event
      Presentation 1 10 mins      Eileen Grant Gloucestershire County Council
      Presentation 2 10 mins      Ian Cameron BBC
      Discussion     20 mins

11.50 Break 1 Sandwich buffet & refreshments

Session 2: Chairman: Jonathan Morgans Atkins
12.35 Communications – during an event – between responders
       Presentation 1 10 mins     Zonia Brown Government Office London – Resilience Team
       Presentation 2 10 mins      Mike Coward Cumbria County Council
       Discussion      20 mins

13.15   Adequacy of command structures – did they work?
        Presentation 1 10 mins   Tim Brain Chief Constable of Gloucestershire
        Presentation 2 10 mins   Paul Hayden Chief Fire Officers Association
        Discussion     20 mins

13.55 Break 2 Sweets and refreshments
Session 3 Chairman: David Balmforth MWH
14.35 Risk appetite - with limited resources
       Presentation 1 10 mins         Jo Gillespie Regional Resilience Directorate,
                                              Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber
       Presentation 2 10 mins         Tony Owen Head of Operations Delivery, Env Agency
       Discussion      20 mins

15.15   Embedding the lessons: The Government Action Plan and The National Flood Framework
        Presentation 1 10 mins      Mandy MacKenzie Cabinet Office
        Presentation 2 10 mins      Colin Berghouse Defra

        Discussion      until close                  16.00 Close and refreshments
                  Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                   4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Two Organisations – Working Together: The Extreme Rainfall Alert Pilot
Sophie Purdey
Environment Agency, Olton Court, 10, Warwick Road, Olton, Solihull B92 7HX
Sophie.purdey@environment-agency.gov.uk tel: 07887 624990

Paul Davies
Met Office, Fitzroy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB
Tel No: 0779 542 6901 Email: paul.davies@metoffice.gov.uk

Meteorological models have become the basis on which weather forecasts are produced.
However, until the late 1980s, the weather systems resolvable by these models were limited to large
cyclonic storms. While these had skill in predicting the conditions for coastal flooding, they were of
little value in predicting flood-producing rainfall. For the past two decades, mesoscale models with
gridlengths in the range 10-20km have been able to resolve weather fronts and have achieved
increasing accuracy in forecasting the rainfall associated with them on scales of around 100km.
However, the critical scales for flooding in the UK require rainfall to be predicted on scales of
around 20km. Such scales are now being resolved by the new generation of weather
models coming into use and we can expect them to give increasingly useful forecasts of summer
rainfall as experience is gained over the next few years. As a result, flood forecasting and warning
systems, which historically have been based on the lack of sufficiently fine scale rainfall information,
need to be revisited in the light of the new meteorological modelling capabilities. This is particularly
true for surface water flooding, where these new capabilities offer, for the first time, the possibility of
providing credible alerts.

While deterministic forecasts of flood-producing rainfall remain limited to a few hours ahead by the
chaotic nature of the atmosphere, developments in probabilistic forecasting over the past decade
offer the possibility of useful information at more extended forecast ranges. The basis for this has
been the development of the ensemble prediction approach, now used at many meteorological
centres as the basis for estimating forecast uncertainty. Ensemble forecasts capture the unstable
growth processes that lead to exponential development of disturbances in the atmosphere. As a
result small, unobservable, differences in model initial state or small errors in model representation of
atmospheric processes, can in some circumstances lead to large differences in the forecast. The
various methods of creating an ensemble seek to maximise identification of the potential for such
error growth. The relationship of the ensemble spread to the actual uncertainty of the forecast is
established a posteriori, and the system is tuned to reproduce as realistically as possible the
observed probability distribution. As a result, ensemble forecasts can be used to distinguish between
a forecast extreme event which is an outlier and one that is a serious possibility, thus enabling
warnings to be issued with an understood level of confidence. There remain challenges in making
use of probabilistic forecasts, but for several categories of users with well defined costed mitigation
options, it is possible to define threshold probabilities for prescribed events at which specific actions
should be initiated. In some cases, the probability threshold may be as low as 20%, particularly in
extreme circumstances, when the cost of not mitigating may be extremely high, or politically

Following the events of summer 2007, and in line with the interim and final recommendations of the
Pitt review, the Met Office, in partnership with the Environment Agency, put together a pilot service
to alert emergency responders of extreme rainfall likely to lead to localised urban flooding. The
service was called the “Extreme Rainfall Alert” and a 6 month pilot was launched on July 2nd 2008.
In areas prone to surface water flooding, historical evidence is available to enable local responders
to identify where flooding might occur when the rainfall thresholds contained in the ERA are
exceeded. To date, users have been broadly positive about the service.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Developing the Environment Agency Warning System, Weather Alerts
and Flood Warning Services

Craig Woolhouse
Head of Flood and Coastal Risk Management Process, Environment Agency
Email: craig.woolhouse@environment-agency.gov.uk

The 2007 floods provided England and Wales with a wake-up call of just how vulnerable we are to
flooding. However, this event was not isolated, 9 years previously we experienced severe flooding
in the Midlands during the Easter 1998 floods and since then we have seen several other significant
events in 2000, 2003 and 2005. Floods of this magnitude are not new and according to the
updated Foresight Future Flooding report we are going to experience more events like this in the

The Environment Agency‟s flood warning system is essential to managing flood risk. Last summer we
sent effective warnings to over 34,000 homes and our Floodline call centre handled over 55,000
calls. The heavy demand on our services exemplified just how much the public relies on the
information we provide and we need to ensure that we continue to provide clear, timely and
accessible information to those at risk.

The Pitt Review stated that there needs to be a step change in the quality of flood warning,
providing more accurate warnings with longer lead times. With the Met Office we are currently
looking at ways in which we can improve our current warnings so that they trigger action from the
public, industry and professional partners.

We have made some significant head-way in the past 15 months through our work in identifying
areas susceptible to surface water flooding and our Extreme Rainfall Alert pilot with the Met Office,
but there is more to do. In the next year we will be making improvements to our website, extending
community based warnings and developing an on-line system for registering with our flood warning
service. Flood warning codes will be reviewed and changes implemented.

We want to be valued as the organisation that understands, maps and warns against all sources of
flooding and to be recognised as the flood warning experts for all sources of flooding. To achieve
this goal we need to listen to local communities, work with our professional partners and improve
our capabilities to manage surface water flood risk. After the Easter 1998 floods we progressively
implemented significant changes to flood forecasting and warning systems. Last year‟s events have
created the impetus to further improve what we do for the benefit of local communities.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

The current warning system could you better – 10 things that are

Mary Dhonau
Chief Executive, The National Flood Forum, The Old Snuff Mill Warehouse, Park Lane,
Bewdley, Worcestershire, R12 2EL
Tel No: 01299 403055   Mobile: 07754592534   Email: mary.dhonau@floodforum.org.uk

The National Forum provides support and advice to communities and individuals who have been
flooded or are at risk of being flooded. We are a collective, authoritative voice that aims to
influence central and local government and all agencies that manage flood risk.
With the Advancement of technology Flood Warnings have improved hugely but there is still a lot to
be found wanting in their delivery. Listening to the voice of the community at large improvements
could be made. Scenes we saw recently of elderly residents in Morpeth being rescued from upstairs
windows should not be happening in the 21 century. The science behind flood warnings needs to
be development in closer partnership with the Met office and the Environment Agency but at the
same time Flood warnings need to be easily accessible and understood by all members of our
society including the most vulnerable.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Communications with the Public, before, during and after the event
Eileen Grant
Senior Emergency Management Officer, Gloucestershire County Council, Shire Hall,
Gloucester, GL1 2TG
Tel No: 01452 425016 Email: eileen.grant@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Gloucestershire‟s LRF media and public information response was rigorously tested in the
emergency last year; the flooding and water-loss emergency was the lead story for 10 days on Sky
and BBC 24 news channels. Although in many ways we came through with flying colours, lessons
were certainly learnt and we are now anxious to make these improvements.

Amending procedures can only go so far and some of these improvements have already been
made, but many require extra funding to underpin the work. For example, Sir Michael Pitt
recommends (Recommendation 66) that local authority contact centres should take the lead in
dealing with general enquiries from the public during and after major flooding, redirecting calls to
other organisations when appropriate. In Gloucestershire we certainly had a plethora of phone
numbers for people to call and many must have found it confusing. If the local authority is to deal
with such an enormous quantity of public calls as were received by various responding agencies
during the crisis, it would necessitate a huge amount of extra capacity in our contact centres, both
of people and equipment. Local mutual aid agreements are unlikely to ameliorate the situation,
and it is debatable if any local call centres have the capacity needed to deal with such a vast
number of calls. Developing technology means that it is possible for contact centres to be virtual or
linked to various remote locations, but updating Local Authority equipment and setting this up to
provide a one-stop number to call is a costly project, and local authorities would find it impossible to
finance such a project. Could a national facility offer a better solution to this?

More resources are also needed to raise public awareness of business continuity planning for
businesses, for promotion of flood resilience products and most importantly, for people to take
personal and community responsibility for their own property and safety. It would be extremely
helpful if a single set of definitive advice were available to be used by media and authorities locally
and nationally (Pitt, recommendation 60).

Websites are increasingly providing information to the public on a much greater scale than before;
therefore it is vital that all authorities have continuous 24hr access available to add information
needed in an emergency. Gloucestershire County Council was lucky in that we had just finalised
such arrangements at the beginning of Summer 2007, but other organisations suffered disruption to
their public information flow via their websites. However recommendations that it is preferable to
use Local Resilience Forum websites as effective one stop shop information for the public is difficult,
if like us, there is no funding to provide an LRF website in your local area.

If local authorities and their LRF Partners are to put into practice recommendations made by the Pitt
Report and other inquiries after the severe flooding in 2007, then more resources will be needed,
both to tackle the work locally and by providing national resources to improve preparation, training
and response for better resilience.

You can find out more about our work and the Gloucestershire flooding in 2007 at

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Communications with the public, before, during and after the event

Ian Cameron
BBC TV Centre, 27 Woodhill Road, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 7EY
Email: ian.cameron@bbc.co.uk

Journalism ABC
In journalism there‟s a well known mantra – the ABC of Journalism

      Accuracy
      Brevity
      Clarity

Emergency Planning AIC
When it comes to Emergency Planning I think there are 3 new initials – AIC

      Audience
      Interactivity
      Consistency

AUDIENCE - Creative Futures
The BBC has an initiative called Creative Futures and a major part of that initiative involves putting
the audience at the heart of everything we do.
In BBC Nations & Regions we‟ve applied that philosophy to Emergency Planning – putting the
audience at the heart of our plans.

Instead of asking what information we can provide for the audience we‟re asking ourselves what
information does the audience need. It sounds simple but it‟s a major change.

I attend a lot of Emergency Planning Seminars and Conferences – I listen to a lot of presentations
from Blue Light Services, Utilities and Emergency Planning Officers – what we call Cat 1 & Cat 2
responders. A lot of the conversation revolves around what we can do, our processes, our structures
– rather than looking at things from the other end of the telescope – asking what information do the
audience need to make themselves safe and how will we provide it.

The film I‟m about to show you demonstrates how the BBC initiative called „Connecting in a Crisis
„works. The film is about the Floods during the summer of 2007 and it shows the importance of BBC
Local Radio – how it‟s a robust medium that can be accessed on a battery or wind-up radio even if
the power is off. However this film also shows how the philosophy of putting the audience at the
heart of what we do, works in practice:

Film – Jon Kay – Floods 2007 (cutdown version) 4mins

When we launched „Connecting in a Crisis „we got the title wrong – it should have been called
„Connecting BEFORE a Crisis‟ because we need to build contacts and trust before a crisis hits –
leave it until the crisis and it‟ll be too late.

                  Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                   4 December 2008, SOAS, London

However I hope you can see from that film that Connecting in a Crisis is no longer just about the
relationship between the broadcasters and the Emergency Planning Community.
It‟s worth just reflecting on some of the things we saw in that film:

      7.9 million hits on the Radio Gloucestershire site in 2 weeks – that shows not only the huge
       appetite of the audience for information, it also shows that incidents like the Gloucester
       floods are no-longer local events - they attract huge interest from a national, sometimes an
       international audience. Often it‟s parents or partners trying to find out about their loved ones
       – sometimes those relatives or friends are calling from abroad and they‟re turning to our

      We can put weather, rainfall patterns, river flow – all sorts of information up on the website.
       And as you saw, our site was robust, coping with the huge demand, when other sites like the
       one operated by Severn Trent, struggled to cope with the demand.

      The BBC website also carried every news conference given by the Chief Constable of
       Gloucestershire – not a quick sound bite – a full pod cast lasting 15 mins which the audience
       could choose to access when it suited them.

      The clip with the woman who wrote the blog is illuminating because as she explained,
       sharing her experience helped her to cope with the disaster – she found it therapeutic.

      The idea about the „Hall for Heroes‟ celebrating community spirit and the neighbours who
       helped – that idea came from the audience.

      The other thing is to remember the sheer volume of requests for information these days –
       using the media is a great way to reach a large number of people but the media also has a
       voracious, continuous appetite – 24/7 – you need someone who perform in front of a
       camera or a microphone and someone else to feed them a supply of fresh information –
       e.g. when Napoli beached in South West, Press officer gave 50 interviews in 2 hours!

      Put simply - The audience is no-longer passive – they‟re active and they let us know what
       they think of our coverage and what information they need – it‟s a two-way interactive

      We‟ve grown accustomed to this through our phone-ins on Local Radio but now the internet
       and our Online services are taking that two-way process to new heights.

Finally to consistency. The BBC is no different from the MCA in that we all strive to achieve a
consistent level of service – whether it be in the office, on board a ship or on our radio stations –
whether we use personal development plans, leadership programmes or a corporate strategy
matrix, the aim is the same – to share best practice and bring everyone up to the same high

In Emergency Planning & Business Continuity, that standard is the kite mark BS 25999 standard.

In BBC Nations & Regions, a major part of our drive to improve consistency revolves around regular
exercises at our main TV, Radio & Online sites – we have 15 across the UK, in Cardiff, Belfast,

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Glasgow and the big English cities like Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Plymouth, Bristol,
Birmingham etc.

This year the desktop exercise is based on the lessons we learnt from the floods in 2007, the previous
year‟s exercise was based on a pandemic scenario and before that a CBRN incident.

One of the main learning points from the 2007 floods was the FX of widespread power outage and
telecoms failures. As a result we now invite representatives of the Utility companies to attend our
exercises as well as the blue light services and emergency planners.

When we held the pandemic exercises, we invited NHS and HPA reps to attend and when they
came, they added a great deal to the event – for instance in he Look East area, an HPA rep
explained the importance of reminding the audience to take their tablets or medication with them
if they‟re home is evacuated – it‟s simple and obvious to medical staff but not always to
broadcasters – however since the we build that advice into our emergency broadcast plans.

So to conclude, my advice is to think Audience, Interactivity and Consistency – and the best way
for us to serve that interactive audience and achieve consistency is to exercise and rehearse
together – so we build contacts and trust before the crisis happens.

Also can I point you towards a Warning & Informing campaign called „ What If „ which we‟ll be
running in the New Year . It‟ll be a 3 day campaign running on Regional TV, Local Radio & Online –
the bulk of it on Local Radio – and each day we‟ll look at a different theme.

      On Monday 5th January we‟ll be looking at what families can do to protect themselves if
       faced with a flood or severe weather.
      On Tues 6th , Fire and chemical spillage
      And on Weds 7th January asking whatever happened to the threat from flu Pandemic.

I hope we work together on some of these initiatives.

Thank you.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Communications – during an event – between responders
Mike Coward
Emergency Planning Officer, Cumbria County Council
LGA Emergency Planning Representative - Resilient Telecommunications
Member of Cabinet Office Stakeholder Panel on Resilient Telecommunications
Chair of Cumbria Telecommunications Sub-Group
Tel No: 01228 815705 Email: mike.coward@cumbriaepu.gov.uk


Zonia Brown
Team Leader, London Resilience Team, Government Office For London, 1st Floor,
157-161 Millbank, Riverwalk House, London, SW1P 4RR
Tel: 020 7217 3614 Mobile: 07748 110916 Email: zonia.brown@gol.gsi.gov.uk

All responders to emergencies are highly reliant on telecommunications to ensure a fast, efficient
and effective response. However, recent incidents including the Carlisle Flood, July 2005 London
bombings, the Manchester tunnel fire and 2007 Floods have highlighted vulnerabilities.
Telecommunications cannot be taken for granted. We need to understand vulnerabilities and
ensure layered fallback arrangements are in place to communicate throughout the varied
challenges we face.

Mike Coward and Zonia Brown are Chairs of the Cumbria Telecommunications Sub Group and
London Telecommunications Task & Finish Group respectively. The joint presentation shares
experiences of telecommunications problems; lessons identified and work in progress to improve

Mike Coward‟s presentation covers intra- and inter-agency communications, and what can go
wrong and lessons identified from recent incidents. He will share his experience from the 2005
Carlisle Flood when conventional telecommunications systems either failed or had to be
supplemented with additional resources.

Zonia Brown will then cover the work being taken forward at all levels to improve resilience. This
includes the Cabinet Office Resilient Telecommunications Strategy and the role of
Telecommunications Sub-Groups (TSGs) locally and regionally to develop a more structured and
standardised approach planning in this area. She will share some of the good practice identified
and steps which all organisations can take to improve telecommunications resilience. There will also
be an update on national initiatives such as the National Resilience Extranet, Mobile
Telecommunication Privileged Access Scheme, the development of a resilient telecommunication
backbone between Golds, RCCCs and COBR (HITS) and the exploration of cell broadcasting.

CCS Resilient Telecommunications Guidance:
London: www.londonprepared.gov.uk

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

UK Command Structures during Wide Area Emergencies
Paul Hayden
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, Service
Headquarters, 2 Kings Court, Charles Hastings Way, Worcester, WR5 1JR
Tel: 01905 368202 Email: phayden@hwfire.org.uk www.hwfire.org.uk

The importance of fully Integrated Emergency Management (IEM) systems is nothing new in the UK.
In the early post war periods they developed in response to the expected needs of “civil defence”,
but incidents such as the Lockerbie disaster demonstrated that it was not only the extremes of
nuclear attack that would require a more “joined up” approach, and systems were adapted
accordingly. The Home Office document „Dealing with Disaster‟ (1997) defined IEM as „the
preparation for emergency management by recognising the role and responsibilities of all the
participants and integrating the emergency arrangements for specific contingencies‟.

IEM has a number of strengths and weaknesses, including;

    •    Flexible/Non prescriptive
    •    Addresses local needs/works bottom up
    •    Builds on Core Business
    •    Establishes and supports shared priorities

  •    Divergence of priorities/differing perceptions of risk
  •    Lack of common guidance
  •    Command authority
  •    Differing cultures

The continuing theme for IEM was carried over to the “Home Office (2004) „Emergency Response
and Recovery” document that stated that IEM should ensure that key agencies can:-

   •    Combine and act as a single authoritative focus where
   •    Consult, agree and decide on key issues; and
   •    Issue instructions, policies and guidance to which all
       Agencies will conform

UK Command Structures during Wide Area Emergencies

All of this work has resulted in co-ordinated U.K. command structures based on the Civil
Contingencies Act (CCA). As the Home Secretary (2006) stated in „Addressing Lessons from the
Emergency Response to the 07/07/05 London Bombings‟, „Overall, the response to the bombings
demonstrated the value of extensive multi-agency planning, training and exercising and validated
the strength and flexibility of the UK‟s emergency response arrangements.‟

Although tragic and presenting an extreme challenge to local responders, 7/7 represented a
relatively localised event. The question of how effectively U.K. arrangements and IEM would work
faced with an incident that spread across multiple SCG (“Gold”) Commands and multiple
government regions remained untested.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Flooding is now widely accepted as being a truly multi-agency, multi-disciplinary and multi-
jurisdictional event. The challenges of command and co-ordination during such wide area events
were bought home during last year‟s floods.

The session will outline some of the rescue coordination arrangements put in place last year and
touch on the resulting challenges and issues arising from integrating responses to wide area national

                   Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                    4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Risk Appetite

Jo Gillespie
Regional Resilience Directorate, Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber,
City House, New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4US
Tel No: 0113 283 6362 Email: jo.gillespie@goyh.gsi.gov.uk

What are we prepared to accept as a society? The chance of winning the lottery is 43 million to 1
but millions of tickets are sold every week because „it could be me‟. Do we understand risk and will
we act on it?

What is the community appetite for risk? The Pitt Review was clear that we need to regard flooding
in the same way we regard terrorism but does that mean we think of the risk in the same way? How
do we work with communities and the leaders who represent them to understand what risk means
and what we can do to mitigate that risk.

This is not an abstract mathematical concept dealing with an academic assessment – it directly
affects people‟s lives and therefore has the immensely complicating factor of human response and
emotion and we cannot ignore it but instead we must include it in our planning.

How – by better educating our audience into what risk means, by building community resilience so
the idea of „victim hood‟ disappears and communities and individuals are able to face and deal
with challenges successfully and feel able to do it.

In April this year Sir Michael Pitt said:

Society’s appetite for risk
“If we are to make this work, we need to address the extent to which society is willing to live with the
risk of flooding, and pay for the benefits of mitigating that risk. What we need to encourage is
rational behaviour. Flooding will not be taken seriously if we play down its consequences.

We also need to be direct with the public when we have competing risks. Perhaps the most obvious
example within the review process is the balancing act between protecting information about the
importance and vulnerability of critical infrastructure sites and the need to share information about
such sites to protect them from flooding. Guarding against either risk can exacerbate the other. As
the summer floods showed, actual risk to these sites is much higher than communicated risk, and so
the public were shocked by the loss of essential services. As a consequence, they were poorly
prepared, and levels of protection of these key sites did not match the public‟s expectations.
Critical infrastructure operators and security organisations should be more open about the risks
which exist.

It is interesting that one masonry dam I visited has inundation maps drawn up by consultants, but
these are not made available to the public at risk. In this particular case, a school lies in the path of
the potential flood should the dam fail. But there are no emergency plans at the school. The head
teacher is unaware of this upstream risk and no escape routes for children have been prepared.
So we need to move to a situation where we are making more effort to communicate risk
accurately and debate risk appetite in a more public way. I was pleased that the new National
Security Strategy addressed this question so directly, and promised the publication of a national risk
register. The simple fact is that we need to be more willing to tell people the truth about risk, and

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

have the debates as a society so that we make a considered judgement about how to handle
Risk appetite - with limited resources

Tony Owen
Head of Operations Delivery, Environment Agency, Rio House, Waterside Drive, Aztec West,
Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4UD
Email: tony.owen@environment-agency.gov.uk

The incidents of summer 2007 provided an extreme example of the cost and misery that flooding
causes. Looking at the climate change scenarios in the recently updated Foresight Future Flooding
Report, the consensus is that we are increasingly going to experience longer wetter summers and
shorter drier winters - accordingly this means that the number of people at risk from all sources of
flooding will increase.

The Pitt Review stated that “the scale of the 2007 floods stretched emergency response resources to
the limit and beyond, and responders in some areas were not as ready as they might have been”.
It also went on to say that “it is also clear that, in some areas, there were no agreed protocols
between responders, setting out responsibilities for assessing the potential impact of a specific
severe weather event and triggering a multi-agency response. This gap, crucial to the initiation on
an effective emergency response, needs to be filled.”

The Pitt Review also highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to flooding. Lack of
information on the location of infrastructure, its risk from flooding and the dependencies on different
facilities and sites made it even more difficult to respond. Pitt called upon Local Resilience Forums
and operators of critical infrastructure to improve the way they share data with each other, discuss
potential flood risk and to ensure they have an action plan ready in the event that it floods again.

There are many challenges ahead, however, through collaborative working, sharing data, training
responders appropriately and through effective planning such as developing a multi-agency flood
plan, we will be able to achieve a better standard of response.

We also need the public to take responsibility for their own safety by checking their risk of flooding
on our website and taking appropriate steps to prepare such as signing up to flood warnings direct,
developing a flood plan and downloading our leaflets on what to do before, during and after a

But we can‟t do this alone, we need to work together so that next time it floods we all know what
our roles and responsibilities are and how we can collaborate during an emergency to provide the
best response we can.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Embedding the Lessons: The Government Action Plan and the National
Flood Framework
Mandy Mackenzie
Policy Manager, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Cabinet Office, 22 Whitehall,
London, SW1A 2WH
Tel: 0207 276 6371 Email: man.mackenzie@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.ukresilience.gov.uk

The presentation will focus on the following two main areas:

Government response to Pitt

Sir Michael Pitt‟s final report on “Learning lessons from the 2007 floods” was published in June 2008.
The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Hilary Benn made a
statement to the House on the day of publication in which he confirmed that a detailed response
would be made in the autumn, including a prioritised and costed action plan.

The Government have been considering the 92 recommendations and preparing a full,
coordinated, detailed cross-Government response. Hilary Benn‟s working premise is that most
recommendations will be accepted.
It is anticipated that the response will be a package consisting of:
             An executive summary
             The full text of responses to the 92 recommendations

Publication of the Government response is planned for 11 December 2008.

National Flood Emergency Framework (NFEF)

The need for a NFEF had been identified by Sir Michael in his November
2007 Interim Report. In its response, the Government accepted that need but also stated that
written guidance alone would not bring about the long-term cultural change that is required. The
Government also noted that the full implementation of a programme to develop information,
guidance and key policies in a single strand of planning might take until 2010 to fully implement.

The purpose of a national framework, as set out in the July 2008 published outline, is to provide a
forward looking policy framework for flood emergency planning and response. It should bring
together information, guidance and key policies and act as a resource for all involved in
emergency planning at national, regional and local levels.

The NFEF must not be a document that simply encapsulates existing provisions: it should add value
to the current arrangements by helping to ensure that planning at local, regional and national level
is up-to-date, clear and certain on roles and responsibilities. It should provide a common and
strategic reference point for flood planning and response for all tiers of government and responder

Defra (as lead Government Department) and CCS have been working together to prepare a
consultation document which will concentrate on five main areas:
    Triggers, warnings and alerts for activating emergency plans

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

      Organisational responsibilities within the national, regional and local „command chain‟
       during severe, pan-regional flood emergencies.
      Responsibilities of organisations who manage and operate essential services that are at risk
       of failure during a flood.
      Arrangements for cross-boundary mutual aid,
      Humanitarian aid arrangements during a severe flood.

The consultation will be available from the end of December and will pose a number of questions in
relation to these five focus points. It will also set out how we propose to engage stakeholders and
others over the first half of 2009.

                 Emergency Response and Planning for Flooding: Embedding the Lessons
                                  4 December 2008, SOAS, London

Embedding the lessons: the Government Action Plan and the National
Flood Framework
Colin Berghouse
Defra, Flood Emergencies Capability Programme, Flood Management Division,
2nd Floor Ergon House, London, SW1P 2AL
Tel No: 0207 238 5276 Mobile: 07801 349 419 Email: colin.berghouse@defra.gsi.gov.uk

This final presentation of the conference draws together just a few of the key aspects covered
through the day and puts them in context of the ongoing obstacles and challenges we continue to
face in our attempt to learn the lessons from previous events.

We will look broadly at what has been learnt since July 2007 and what still needs to be done. The
independent report My Sir Michael Pitt is one of the best reviews I have seen and is certainly up
there, alongside the US Congress reports on Hurricane Katrina in terms of the comprehensive nature
of the research and investigation.

The response and energy given from so many organisations and people to the Pitt Review was true
evidence of „our‟ willingness to understand what happened. So where are we on the continuum
between identifying lessons, learning from them and embedding them? This conference focuses in
on the later of the three stages and exposes to some degree the realities of bringing about true
business change within a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary „population‟ of
emergency planners and responders....not to mention the diverse political landscape and financial
constraints within which any business change needs to operate!

Sir Michael Pitt‟s report has given us a great opportunity for change (for example: the proposed
draft Floods and Water Bill) and yet there remain ongoing threats to embedding the lessons and
keeping alive „the learning‟ and experiences of the 2007 summer floods - a point I will touch on, but
with a question around how we maintain momentum going into 2009/10?


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