Planning for emergencies is nothing new to the Fire and Rescue Service. South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is continually developing and reviewing plans to satisfy all its statutory duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999, the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996, and the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001.
Each Fire and Rescue Service fulfils its statutory responsibility by preparing and maintaining emergency plans required against the priorities identified in its respective Local Resilience Forum Community Risk Register and its own Community Risk Register. All Fire and Rescue Services organise and facilitate training and exercising on an individual and multi-agency basis, to establish a robust test and validation process. This enables the responding agency’s plans and procedures to compliment each other and the agencies to gain a greater understanding of each other’s roles, responsibilities and capabilities, which they provide to safeguard the people and communities of South Wales.
The Civil Contingencies Act has created a generic framework that places emergency planning at the heart of civil protection in the United Kingdom. The new duties under the Act have provided a legal requirement that enhances many years of excellent co-operation between the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, other emergency services, Local Authorities and the Health Agencies. Additionally, it brings together, in a formal arrangement, the co-operation of many other organisations that play a vital role during and after any significant emergency that may occur within South Wales.
All three Welsh Fire and Rescue Services (Mid and West Wales, North Wales and South Wales) ensure an effective collaborative engagement with all responder partners by providing appropriate representation on Local Resilience Forums and their respective Working Groups. This ensures that Wales’ Fire and Rescue Services are fully prepared, as part of a multi-agency response, to deal effectively with a wide range of emergencies.
The Welsh Assembly Government is also procuring and providing additional equipment such as high volume pumps, mass decontamination units, detection and monitoring facilities, and urban search and rescue units, to all Welsh Fire and Rescue Services as part of the UK Civil Contingencies Capabilities Programme. This will further enhance Fire and Rescue Service planning and resilience by improving capability to provide an effective, efficient and sustained response to local or national major catastrophic incidents.