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EPS London Branch Newsletter
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Message from London Branch Chair

Welcome to the July issue of London Calling!

With continuing news of terrorist attacks around the world, as well as scenes from South Africa and China of heavy flooding, the value of emergency preparedness remains topical.   

Whether incidents are becoming more frequent or a product of global 24hr news and social media, is a debate for another time, although we've posed some initial thoughts later for you. Emergencies are (sadly) inevitable and the EPS provides an excellent channel for sharing information, advice and experience; making sure we’re providing the best possible service in our respective sectors. 

We’re encouraged to see that the Mayor of London has commissioned Lord Harris to undertake a review of the emergency services preparedness. The learning from independent reviews like this provides a valuable ‘reality check’ and will help inform the continued development of resilience in London. We’ve approached the Mayors Office for comment and hope to bring our members an update in the next edition of London Calling.

Until then, if you’re getting away this summer we’ve got some thoughts on ‘being prepared’ for emergencies on holiday – let us know what steps you take on Facebook or Twitter! 

Terrorism, or just terrifying?

While we are acutely keen on raising awareness of the threat of terrorism and the multitude of channels through which the threat is being tackled, it is easy to approach every incident with the assumption of being an terrorist attack.
Recent weeks and months have seen us bombarded with news stories of mass shootings and a variety of attempts on law enforcement agencies around the world, but the motives are varied.

Attacks in Dallas appear to have been racially motivated, the attack at Munich's Olympia shopping mall appears to have been carried out by a troubled teenager obsessed with mass shootings, and the suicide bomber who attacked a festival in Ansbach was apparently motivated by an unsuccessful attempt to seek asylum.
On the other hand, the murder of a priest and taking of hostages in northern France and attempted attack on a police station in Merryland, Australia have been identified as terrorism.

Whatever the motivation for carrying out such atrocities, what is required for it to be an 'act of terror'? Is it the motivation? The impact? The allegiance of the perpetrator or perpetrators to one group or another?
These actions were all taken to terrorise on some level, but as the public react to each new report, is it the provocation of fear that is the real act of terror?

The timing seems appropriate to repeat messages we have given in previous issues.
As for when we promoted the Run, Hide, Tell video as part of NaCTSO's Stay Safe programme, these horrible stories should be taken as opportunities to 'raise awareness, not alarm.'
Similarly, while these events are scary to just hear and read about, we must carry on with our lives rather than hide away in fear. Go to work. Enjoy time with family and friends. At this time of year, take a trip, near or far, and relax.

In other words, be aware of what is happening in the world and the threats we face, but don't give in to the threat.

Emergency Planning and the Olympics

With a new Mayor and, more recently, a new Prime Minister, much has changed in London and across the UK in the last four years. This can make the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games feel like a long time ago.
 
In just a few days the Opening Ceremony will take place for Rio 2016 and we’ve been feeling nostalgic so thought we’d have a quick look at how emergency planning challenges between 2012 and how 2016 might be different.
 
From the massacre in Munich in 1972, bombings in Spain just ahead of the 1992 Barcelona Games to the Atlanta bombing in 1996; the history of the Games is punctuated with incidents. In London, the bombings following the Host City announcement in July 2005 provided a sombre backdrop and framed much of the subsequent planning, in addition to the widespread public disorder experienced in 2011.
 
Hosting the Olympics comes with a range of generic challenges regardless of location, from managing the impact of additional traffic on transport networks to ensuring safety and security of sporting venues. However, the Games this summer in Rio occur in a world which has faced recent attacks in public spaces and one which continues to experience internationally significant outbreaks of disease like Ebola and Zika.
 
There is significant value in learning from past experience, but emergency planners must also be alive to latest developments and trends to ensure their arrangements aren’t just living in the past.  The London Branch send their best wishes to everyone involved in making the Games a success in Brazil; we know from experience how much work it takes.
 
If you’re travelling (particularly to Brazil, but this applies wherever you’re going on holiday), here are a few thoughts for you to consider:

  1. Be aware of the risk – one of the best places to get information is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and the #GetReadyForRio advice here
  2. Take a look at the 5 steps suggested by Chief Medical Officer Prof Dame Sally Davies on Zika
  3. Make sure you’ve got the appropriate vaccinations and insurance cover for your trip
  4. Stay safe in the sunshine by using appropriate sunscreen and keeping hydrated
  5. Ensure that your family knows the number to contact the emergency services – 112 is free of charge and works on most mobile phone networks, but double check for your destination.

And don’t forget to prepare your home whilst you’re away. Follow this CrimeStoppers advice.

President Obama - Chief Resilience Officer?

President Obama has been using social media to encourage Americans to 'Drink water, stay out of the sun, and check on your neighbours' following heat wave forecasts that were issued earlier in the month.
A blog article posted on Dot Earth here goes on to describe other ways in which the President has played a role in resilience, including the Rockefeller Foundations 100 Resilient Cities project, which aims to build a global network of resilience officers.

The article goes on to discuss other points of community involvement, historic heat waves and social media usage.

Well worth a peruse, and let us know what you think.

National Society Update

Flood & Coast 2017 - Abstracts for presentations and papers required

The EPS will be exhibiting at Flood & Coast 2017 from 28th - 20th March next year and abstracts for presentations and papers as part of the event, are being called for. The event's Advisory Committee has identified six themes as a framework for the call:

  • Infrastructures and Cities
  • Emergency Planning and Response and Recovery
  • Flood Alleviation and Water Management
  • Coast
  • Partnerships, People and Communities
  • Modelling and Forecasting

The deadline for submission is Friday 9th September 2016

Visit the event website here for a full description of the conference topics and for more information on how to submit.
For more information, contact info@floodandcoast.com or call 0330 088 1417.

EPS Annual Resilience Awards 2016

The deadline for submissions is Friday 12th August! More details on how to submit nominations and the rest of the AGM Conference, can be found on the national website here.

London Branch Update

London Branch Annual General Meeting

We working hard on pulling together the Branch AGM but we're still happy to take your thoughts and ideas for format, location, speakers, etc.

For now though, make sure you save the date - Tuesday 8th November, 2016.

Invitations will be heading your way soon, but should you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please contact london.branch@the-eps.org.

UPDATE YOUR DETAILS

Log-in to the EPS website here, click on ‘My Account,’ take a moment to check your contact details and update if necessary. Make sure you have added our email address to your safe list so that we can ensure you are kept up to date with Society news and events.

The British Fire Services Association
London District

350th Great Fire of London
Anniversary Charity Dinner


Guest Speaker: Dr Hazel Forsyth, Senior Curator, Medieval & Post - Medieval from the Museum of London.

Saturday 3rd September 2016
Reception; 7.00pm
Dinner; 7.30pm
Dress code; Mess dress, Dress Uniforms, Dinner Jackets/Evening wear, miniature medals.
 
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel - West End,
92 Southampton Row,
London WC1B 4BH.
 
Ticket price £45 per person
(Corporate Packages are also available)
 
To book please contact;
London District Secretary, Frank Turner.
07779 026531 or 0207 231 0084
frank.taffy.turner@btinternet.com
 
Please remember if you should need any Special Dietary requirements, please let us know when booking. 
 
The British Fire Service Association is a registered Charity; Charity number - 298065.

Summer Social

A huge 'thank you' from the Branch Executive to those who joined us at the Summer Social event on 12th July! We really hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
London Branch members, members from other Branches, and non-members (or 'soon-to-be' members...), have all given us great feedback, both on and since the night at Souk Medina.

As well as thought-provoking stories from guest speaker Liz McKean, fantastic food and a great setting, all provided the perfect atmosphere for networking and discussion.

We're already working on more events so further feedback from attendees at the Social, or ideas or suggestions from any of our readers, would be greatly received. Future presentations or speakers, locations, or formats - we're open to any and all input!

Thanks again to those who came a long, and of course to our speaker, Liz McKean. We look forward to seeing you all at the next event, with lots of both new and familiar faces!!

Tony Thompson

Emergency Planning Society - Chair

What was your first job?

I was a trainee draughtsman for an engineering company in Cardiff.

What sparked your interest in emergency planning?
I was the police incident officer at the Clapham Junction train crash on 12 December 1988, when 35 died. I realised that we needed to be much better prepared.

What has been the highlight of your Emergency Planning experience?
There have been many, but I think the best one was working with the government (when I was with the British Red Cross) to set up and then manage a special fund for supporting British victims of terrorism overseas.

Has there been a ‘lowlight’ of your experience?
There have been no ‘low’ points – just learning experiences.
 
What do you think the emergency planning sector needs, right now?
In the UK, we need closer engagement with government at ministerial level, and recognition of the importance of harnessing the voluntary sector in planning and responding to civil emergencies.

What has been the biggest influence in the growth of emergency planning?
In recent years, the introduction of a statutory civil protection framework in the UK (the Civil Contingencies Act 2004), as a consequence of a range of civil emergencies and public inquiries. Establishing legal duties on specific responder organisations was a major development, but it has not yet been tested in a formal inquiry or court case.

What would you, as a member, like to get from the EPS?
Learning and development opportunities, and the ability to share ideas and good practice from the UK and overseas.

Favourites

Favourite colour?
Green
 
Favourite food?
Prawn curry
 
Favourite city?
London
 
Favourite book?
Great Expectations
 
Favourite movie?
The Longest Day
 
Favourite musician / artist / group?
Bob Dylan
 
Favourite sport?
Rugby union
 
Favourite Cat 1 agency?
The police service

As always, if you would like to submit an article or suggest a topic, would like to introduce someone you know in the industry by grilling them with the 60 Seconds interview and Favourites, or if you want to introduce a friend, colleague or organisation to the Society, just drop us a line to london.branch@the-eps.org

With summer well and truly in full swing, I'm hopeful that you've enjoyed this issue from the comfort of a distant beach or sun lounger, covered in sun cream of course!
Rio 2016 is almost upon us so whether you're engrossed in it or avoiding it, I'm sure all involved from the UK teams have been working hard so that we all have cause for celebration come the closing ceremony on 21st August. We wish the best of luck to all involved.
Enjoy the rest of the summer season (or at least a quieter tube trip), take a final look at those heat wave plans, and STAY SAFE!

Keith Donnelly, Head of Communication
On behalf of Emergency Planning Society, London Branch Executive

EPS National
London Branch
Emergency Planning Society
Easingwold, York
YO61 3EG

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