Planning for major incidents
The NHS has a major role to play in the response to any major incident (or emergency, as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004).
The Trust has a variety of roles to fill when responding to an emergency, both in support of the Dudley Category 1 Responders and in our role in the community. In order to get the most from the resources we have for this work and to ensure that all our patients receive the best possible help, we always work closely with our partners.
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 defined any Acute Hospital, including Russells Hall Hospital, as a Category 1 responder and as such placed on them six out of seven statutory duties to deliver a single framework for civil protection in the UK.
Other Category 1 responders are:
- The three Emergency Services
- The Community health Services
- All Local Authorities
- The Environment Agency
The Act itself sets out the roles and responsibilities of local responders, ensuring consistency in civil protection activity to deal with the full range of emergencies from localised major incidents through to catastrophic emergencies.
The seven Statutory Duties are:-
- Information Sharing
- Risk Assessment
- Emergency Planning
- Working with the Voluntary Sector
- Audit and Monitoring
- Business Continuity Management
- The Promotion of Business Continuity to the private sector is a duty placed only on Local Authorities.
What does this mean in practice?
During the immediate response to a major emergency, the Police will usually take a lead in co-ordinating the response and the local hospitals are likely to be called on to provide many different services in support of this response. To be prepared for this role, the Trust has in place a Major Incident Plan.
As the emphasis moves from response to recovery, the Trust will co-ordinate with Resilience Partners in caring for the community involved and restoring the environment.
The Trust has a Major Incident Plan, which will be activated in the event of a major emergency. The plan sets out the steps we would have to take in order to deal with the emergency and also tries to envisage the many scenarios of such an emergency. As an NHS Trust, we are as prepared as we can be to deal with the aftermath of an emergency and we have regular training events to deal with mass casualties, train or plane crashes, major fires or chemical spillages etc.
One of the most important elements of any emergency is communication, particularly with members of the public, and we have systems in place to very quickly ensure that as much information as possible is passed on.
The Dudley Multi-Agency Forum
The Dudley Multi-Agency Forum is a group made up of representatives from all of the Category 1 responders in Dudley. This group’s objectives are to give strategic direction to the co-ordination of effort by emergency services and other agencies that respond to, and deal with, major incidents within the Borough.
The Forum’s policy is to harmonise Civil Contingencies arrangements for an integrated response to disasters and emergencies and to direct an annual programme for planning, training and exercises.
What can you do to help yourself in emergencies?
If you find yourself in the middle of a major incident, your common sense and instincts will usually tell you what to do. However, it is important to:
- Make sure 999 has been called if people are injured or if there is a threat to life
- Not put yourself or others in danger
- Follow the advice of the emergency services
- Try to remain calm and think before acting, and try to reassure others
- Check for injuries – remember to help yourself before attempting to help others
If you are not involved in the incident, but are close by or believe you may be in danger, in most cases the advice is:
- Go inside a safe building
- Stay inside until you are advised to do otherwise
- Tune in to local radio or TV for more information
Of course, there are always going to be particular occasions when you should not ‘go in’ to a building, for example if there is a fire. Otherwise:
- Go in, stay in, tune in.
ICE? In Case of Emergency
Have you put ‘ICE’ in your mobile?
Storing ‘ICE’ along with a name and telephone number will enable the emergency services to quickly contact someone for you in the event of an emergency.
Eight out of ten people in the UK carry no next of kin details yet 80 percent carry a mobile phone, most of whom have it on them all the time. There is no simpler way of letting the emergency services know who to contact should you be involved in an accident than by using ICE.
Standing for In Case of Emergency, ICE will allow the emergency crews to quickly contact a nominated person who can be informed of the incident.
Major emergencies are rare. It is perfectly possible that you will never be involved in one in your lifetime. It is the role of Emergency Planning in the NHS to make sure that you remain safe and that, should anything happen, we are prepared and respond in a professional way to make sure that the community suffers as little as possible.
Information and guidance about the support available for people affected by the terror attacks in Manchester and London are available here:
You can also find advice and information about the ‘We Love Manchester Emergency Fund’ and the ‘UK Solidarity Fund’ here: http://www.redcross.org.uk/