Our Responsibilities

1. Our Responsibilities

During an incident or emergency we will provide support to the emergency services, coordinate our response with other emergency responders, ensure the continuation of our service delivery and coordinate the response of nominated voluntary organisations.

We aim to:

  • Ensure we respond swiftly and proportionately to an emergency in the community - any event, incident or situation that threatens serious damage to our welfare, environment or security.  
  • Facilitate business continuity within the council, helping services to prioritise their critical services. Ensure they can continue in the event of an emergency in the community or an internal disruption to council business.
  • Enhance community resilience by providing information to all areas of the community as to how to prepare and protect themselves.


Useful telephone numbers

  • Buckinghamshire Council contact information
  • Emergency Services - 999
  • Gas emergency - 0800 111999
  • Anti-terrorist hotline - 0800 789321
  • NHS (non emergency) - 111
  • Thames Valley Police (Non emergency) - 101
  • Crimestoppers - 0800 555111
  • Environment Agency Floodline Warnings Direct - 0345 988 1188


Local areas


2. Local Resilience Forum

Emergencies demand a combined and coordinated response linking expertise and resources from many organisations.

Response organisations

Police (Thames Valley Police)

For most emergencies, the police assume the overall coordinating role for operations. They process casualty information, via a casualty bureau, providing a central contact for those seeking or providing information about anyone who might have been involved in the emergency; they identify people involved in the emergency and act on behalf of the coroner in identifying and arranging for the removal of the dead.

Fire and Rescue Service

Likely to be the first emergency service at the scene of an emergency, Fire and Rescue’s role is to rescue people trapped in a fire, wreckage or debris and make sure that the emergency doesn't escalate.

Health community

Designated hospitals maintain a major incident plan providing for additional staff and the suspension of routine appointments. The Ambulance service is responsible for the treatment and care of the injured, their delivery to  hospitals and overall co-ordination of all on scene medical resources. These health establishments are supported by Public Health England (PHE), the national organisation which promotes protecting people’s health, reducing the impact of infectious diseases, chemical hazards, poisons and radiation hazards.

During an emergency, elements of these organisations will work closely with the local authorities and other responding agencies to resolve the crisis.

Central government

The first response to any emergency should always be at the local level. Central government can also have a role to play. This may be an active role where local services seek specialist advice or assistance (eg overseas nuclear accidents). At other times the government role may be limited to dealing with parliamentary, media and public enquiries. A specific government department would be nominated to take the lead.

Command and control of an emergency

Strategic command

Senior representatives from local authorities and the other organisations involved will establish a strategic level of management with the police. For local authorities, representation will usually be at chief or senior officer level or equivalent.

Tactical command

Tactical command reports to Strategic command and will be the central point of contact for support services, including local authority and other organisations to ensure close liaison near to the scene. The local authority officer sent to Tactical command would be of appropriate seniority to take part in the policy/decision making process.

Operational command

Operational commands (of which there may be more than one) report to Tactical command.  If requested a local authority liaison officer (LALO) will be sent (usually by the district council) to represent us and coordinate requests for practical assistance at or near the incident.

3. Local authorities

A local authority Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) usually co-ordinates the local authority response. We follow Emergency Plans which specify internal staff roles and responsibilities to ensure an effective response.  These plans are reviewed and tested regularly.

Local authorities' roles

The initial role of the local authorities, in responding to an emergency, is to support the emergency services and, later, to lead the recovery.  In an emergency with widespread effects (eg involving more than one district), or large enough to overwhelm district council resources, we will fulfil the principal co-ordinating function. In these circumstances we may also deploy a local authority liaison officer (LALO) responsible for passing on all requests for local authority services and assistance, and co-ordinating local authority participation at the incident.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Highways (excluding motorways and trunk roads) including bridges and diversions
  • Co-ordinating transport and catering facilities
  • Co-ordinating the voluntary agencies
  • Providing counselling and support for those affected assisting other agencies and individuals
  • Identification of emergency mortuary location
  • Media handling (with the police)
  • Communications and co-ordination facilities

The district council assists our response through its own responsibilities which include identifying and operating emergency rest centres, providing short and long-term accommodation, environmental health support and supplementing communications and co-ordination.

4. Volunteers

Voluntary organisations

The emergency services, and/or the local authorities are involved in a major incident, can ask for assistance from voluntary and other support organisations. In a major incident, we co-ordinate the voluntary organisations assistance.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross Society has a primary duty to support the responders and authorities. Their role is to provide first aid, nursing and welfare services.  In an emergency, or major incident, the Red Cross assist the ambulance service, the health community and the local authority. They can offer the use of buildings and vehicles with its trained first aid staff and support personnel, including doctors and nurses. They can also offer an International tracing service, including health and welfare reports for relatives overseas.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army specialises in the provision of meals and snacks, clothing and shelter, a personal enquiry service and the tracing of relatives. With social services it will assist with evacuee and family care, documentation, welfare, administration and the limited provision of transport with drivers and escorts.

St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance is not used as a front line ambulance service but could carry out day-to-day functions so professional crews could be deployed to a major incident. Support is offered in the following roles:

  • Ambulances – all crews are trained in ambulance aid
  • First aid – St John Ambulance staff are trained in basic first aid, and the use of first aid equipment
  • Doctors and nurses – most divisions have qualified doctors and nurses
  • Other resources – working with other organisations, St John could provide transport and help out at
  • Emergency Rest Centres

The Radio Amateurs Emergency Network (RAYNET)

RAYNET’s role is to provide extra communications to overlay or fill gaps during an emergency or major incident.  Its equipment includes VHF and UHF static, mobile and hand portable radio.  Both speech and data can be carried.

Bucks and Oxon 4x4 Response Group (BORG)

BORG are a Motor Sport Association registered club who’s role in an emergency is to support the Emergency Services, Emergency Planning and other user groups with logistical support and transport over difficult terrain and in adverse weather. Within their membership, they have access to several different 4x4 vehicles with equipment and scope to provide support in a wide variety of situations. They also have a team of trained and enthusiastic volunteers with a selection of different skills who are willing and capable to assist in times of need.

Religious and cultural needs

A major incident may involve people from many religious and ethnic cultures. People affected by a major incident may be victims, or friends and family of victims. Those involved might not be able to speak English or have religious requirements relating to medical treatment, hygiene, diet and places for prayer. There may also be specific requirements in regard to the care of the deceased and the timing of funeral arrangements. In such circumstances inter-denominational and ethnic minority support is available through social services, Churches Together in Buckinghamshire and Buckinghamshire Racial Equality Council.

Additional support

Other voluntary organisations have agreed to assist local authorities, on a goodwill basis, as required:

  • Bucks Federation of Women’s Institutes
  • Bucks Search and Rescue
  • Bucks and Oxon 4x4 Response Group
  • Keynes 4x4 Club