By law, Middlesbrough Council must prepare plans outlining their support to the community during the life-saving and recovery phases of an incident, ensuring they are as effective as possible through testing them with other local responding agencies (police, fire, and ambulance). The council aims to provide necessary services to those affected by the incident, whilst also maintaining its essential day to day functions.
The Middlesbrough Major Incident Plan covers many different types of incident; in it we plan for the effects on people and the environment, not the cause of the incident, known as common consequences. The plan outlines the council’s roles and responsibilities, as well as actions that will apply to a wide range of incidents.
Emergency Planning at Middlesbrough Council is overseen by the Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT), currently chaired by the Director of Public Health and attended by relevant senior council officers. Reporting to the EMRT is an Emergency Planning Officer (EPO), who ensures that the plan is coordinated and that arrangements are in place throughout the council. The EPO also takes the lead in producing specialist plans such as for those for industrial incidents.
The EPO is a member of the Cleveland Emergency Planning Unit (CEPU) who are responsible for emergency planning at the four councils in Cleveland. More information is available from the Cleveland Emergency Planning website.
Are there any specific plans?
Yes. The EPO and council officers produce a range of plans for specific incidents. These include industrial off-site plans covered by the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations (COMAH) 2015, the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (REPPIR) 2001, and the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996.
Other specific plans include the running of rest centres, temporary mortuaries, and responding to oil pollution.
Where are the sites that are planned for under COMAH?
Within Middlesbrough there are two industrial sites that have to be planned for under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) 2015 regulations. Our colleagues in neighbouring authorities also produce plans to cover areas such as Seal Sands and Wilton International that could have an effect on Middlesbrough. This includes the provision of information to residents and businesses about what to do in the event of an incident.
When are these plans used?
As well as during an incident, the plans are regularly exercised and tested with members of the emergency services and partner agencies. They cover not only the incident but also the recovery.
How is the council made aware of an incident?
Normally the emergency services would contact the Cleveland Emergency Planning Unit (CEPU). The Unit has a duty officer system which provides a response to any potential or actual incident, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The CEPU officer will then pass the message to the council and its partners.
Members of the public should report an incident by calling 999.
What should I do in an incident or emergency?
If you're made aware of an incident you should:
- go indoors
- stay inside, closing doors and windows
- tune in to local radio and television for further information
- follow the instructions of the emergency services if you're told to evacuate your home.
What about evacuation?
Evacuation is considered a last resort, as depending on the incident you're often safer inside your home or place of work. If you're asked to evacuate, follow the instructions given by the emergency services exactly; they're for your safety.
Do major incidents occur regularly in the area?
No, but as with anywhere in the country, the potential is there. This is why we have an Emergency Planning Unit, which ensures we're ready to respond when required.