December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 20, 2013
People in Great Yarmouth are being asked to help their neighbours in the event of emergencies such as floods, fires and power cuts.
Information on becoming a community resilience volunteer will be available when a roadshow rolls into Yarmouth’s Market Place next Wednesday (September 25), as part of Norfolk Prepared Week, a county-wide initiative to ensure the public are better prepared for civil crises.
The Environment Agency will be there with a trailer to promote flood awareness, while HM Coastguard will provide information on water safety, including advice when swimming in the sea.
Community resilience groups from the Great Yarmouth borough will also have a stand to tell more people about their role and recruit more volunteers, who are trained to help neighbours in civil emergencies.
The groups are supported by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and, through a network of community contacts, can quickly raise awareness of local hazards, identifying who will need’s help and relaying between the authorities and residents to co-ordinate a fast response.
Community resilience volunteers also have operational roles in emergencies, for example distributing bottled water if a water main bursts, arranging a temporary place of safety for evacuees, or simply providing advice and reassurance.
Earlier this month, the North Yarmouth Community Resilience Group helped to look after residents evacuated from their homes after a garage containing gas cylinders in Yare Close caught fire. The Centre 81 disability centre in Tar Works Road was also evacuated during the drama.
John and Jane Langley, both 74, are the joint coordinators for the group, which was set up in 2011 and has about 15 volunteers.
“Some people will always help others in an emergency and some won’t, but it saves time in an emergency,” said Mr Langley.
“It’s about being prepared. We have a community network that already exists. We are trying to use existing structures that are already there but, joining them up.”
Volunteers do not have to attend meetings, but they are invited to take part in training exercises with other agencies.
There are four urban community resilience groups in Yarmouth and Gorleston.
In the rural areas, several parish councils have developed community resilience plans, including Winterton, Hemsby, Ormesby St Margaret with Scratby, Caister and Stokesby.
For more information about getting involved, contact Jan Davis, the borough council’s emergency planning manager, on 01493 846218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
•Norfolk Prepared Week, running from tomorrow until September 28, is about ensuring members of the public are better prepared for emergencies such as flooding, severe weather and power cuts.