Followingthe devastating floods and massive landslides in and around Sierra Leone’scapital of Freetown on August 14, 2017, a number of different agenciesimmediately responded to help those affected by the disaster. They were: TheUK sent British military personnel to help look for survivors and giveemergency aid to the victims of the disaster. They provided specialist adviceto the first responders on emergency protocols and helped with removing thedead. The UK donated vital humanitarian supplies, including food, water,generators, tents, clothes and urgent medical supplies. The UN system in Sierra Leone helpedsupport the national recovery.
They helped address the urgent requirements ofthose who were directly affected and designed a strategy to tackle longer-termissues, including the environment, climate and disaster risks and futureredevelopment. The Office of National Security tookthe overall lead in coordinating their response efforts with all the otherHumanitarian agencies involved in providing WASH, health, shelter andprotection help for victims who were placed in temporary holding centres andwith other families. Promptly following the major disaster HandicapInternational sent in a group of people to help identify and record the numberof casualties and help the Sierra Leone government develop an emergencyresponse plan. They assisted withtraining other groups helping out at the disaster and coordinated the provisionof psychological first aid for the hundreds of victims who lost their homes andloved ones and with rehabilitation for many who were injured. HI helpedevaluate the immediate and long-term needs of the victims who were affected theworst.
Their emergency systems were left in place until October 2017. The International Federation of RedCross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) gave £270,000 from their DisasterRelief Emergency Fund to help the volunteers aiding with the search and rescueand recovery efforts to give first aid, health care, water, sanitation, hygieneand emergency food. They also launched an emergency appeal to encourage peopleto donate money to help support 5000 victims of the disaster for the next tenmonths. Both the Save the Children and theChristian Aid Charities gave counselling and support to children and familiesaffected by the crisis, and distributed sanitary and hygiene products includingsoap powder, hand washing equipment and water treatment kits. So the childrencould continue their education they also gave school bags, shoes, uniforms, textbooksand stationary. Oxfam along with other charitiesprovided clean water and hygiene kits to the survivors. Manchester Arena Terror Attack Manchester’s emergency services already hadplans in place to deal with potential terror attacks and within less than anhour of the explosion, Greater Manchester Police declared a major incident andtrigged an immediate multi-agency partnership response at all command levels.
TheGreater Manchester Police took charge of coordinating the response and quicklyclosed off the roads in the area, while armed officers and British militarypersonnel were sent to areas of Manchester City Centre as part of OperationTemperer. Uniformed police and paramedics attended the scene, while a counter-terrorismoperation began investigations. A bombdisposal unit was sent into the arena to check for any more devices and acontrolled explosion was carried out. Withinfour minutes of the 999 calls, The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust(NWAS) had paramedics at the scene triaging the injured and working with thepolice to move them to a safe place where 25 more paramedics were waiting inaccordance with their major incident plan. 60 ambulances and other specialised teams workedto stabilise the worst victims and take them to the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Aspart of the initial response, the Manchester council set up friends and familyreconciliation centre to provide shelter and support for those affected by thedisaster and helped reconnect families and friends.
The police set up a hotlinefor those concerned about their loved ones. TheCross-agency communications and consequence management team kept the publicinformed and monitored community tensions. TheMass Fatalities Co-ordination Group was established to make sure the victimswere identified with care for the deceased and their families. TheGrenfell Tower Fire ThePolicing and Crime Bill published on February 10th 2016, placed aduty on the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services to work closelytogether to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all blue light servicesin their area. By having close collaboration between the services it helps themto meet the demands and challenges they face and better serve the public. Whileany emergency of this scale is never the same, under the Civil ContingenciesAct 2004 there is a framework in place which sets out clear roles andresponsibilities for local emergency responders to follow in response toincidents on a local or national scale so they know their role and cancollaborate easily with one another. The plans are flexible and tailored toreflect different circumstances. OnWednesday, June 14th 2017, just before 1 am, a faulty fridge freezercaused a devastating fire to tear through the 24 storey Grenfell tower block inNorth Kensington, west London.
71 people lost their lives, while many more losttheir homes and all their belongings. Theemergency services were alerted at 12.54 am and immediately despatched fireengines to the scene, where firefighters in breathing apparatus battled tobring the blaze under control and rescue those trapped in the building.
Police officers used their riot shields to tryand protect the firefighters from falling debris from the tower block.Commander Richard Welch from the London Fire Brigade declared it as a majorincident around 1.20am and a pan-London multi-agency response was implemented.
The Gold-Silver-Bronze structure was then implemented to coordinate theactivities of the first responders. It took 250 firefighters and 40 fireengines from across London, 60 hours to put out the fire. TheMetropolitan Police were on site to coordinate with local authorities and otheremergency services during the emergency. They were responsible for putting anouter cordon in place to control those who had access and an inner cordon toprotect those dealing with the incident and to preserve the scene. They helped movenearby residents to safety and put counter measures in place to protect the public,help the other emergency services save lives, keep the public informed on whatwas happening and give support to the firefighters.
TheLondon Ambulance Service had over a hundred medics on site, including advancedparamedics, ambulance crews and advanced trauma teams from London’s AirAmbulance, working hard to provide treatment, stabilisation and care for alarge number of injured at the scene. They established a triage sorts system todetermine the priority in which the injured were taken to a hospital andestablished a communication area for all NHS responders at the scene, withdirect radio links to hospitals, control facilities and all other agencies atthe scene. They were responsible for contacting local hospitals in the area sothey were ready to receive the injured.
Aduty press officer and a communications team were responsible for providingquick accurate information on what was happening, the level of resources onsite and the injured. They put together statements for the media and postedupdates on social media. They joined meetings at brigade headquarters so theyknew what was going on and what information could be released to the media. Searchand recovery operations were carried out by firefighters, the MetropolitanPolice Disaster Victim Identification team, 50 specialists Urban Search andRescue firefighters and trained search dogs. Nearbychurches and community centres were opened to provide shelter for those evacuatedfrom the building and nearby properties. The PM Theresa May took charge of the disasterrelief fund and promptly handed over the reins to the Red Cross had been on the scene as the fireburned. They were given the job of theprimary coordinator of the community assistance centre and the first point ofcontact for anyone needing help.
They are responsible for giving psychosocialsupport to those affected, donating food, clothes and bedding, and fundraisingfor the victims. TheGrenfell Response Team was led by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelseaand provided information on financial help, housing, health and other servicesto those affected by the tragedy. Analysis of the importance ofinter-agency emergency planning Duringmajor incidents, Inter-agency coordination and information sharing are vital inorder for a successful emergency response. It means the public services canrespond efficiently and effectively to all major incidents.
Planning and preparationallow the emergency service to respond faster. Byhaving comprehensive emergency response plans that define the roles andresponsibilities of all the trained personnel attending a major incident itallows all the different agencies to work together side-by-side. Byplanning beforehand it could highlight any potential problems that might ariseand identify any areas where the services need to improve. It also ensures allthe public services are working toward the same goal. Byhaving a well-planned response to major incidents it could help prevent seriousinjuries and death.
By having correct planning,preparation, regular training and debriefing the emergency services are betterequipped to respond to the