East Hampshire District Council has a wealth of expertise which is used daily to deliver the 'normal' range of services expected by the public.

In an emergency, key specialists are called together to identify the problems and ensure that an effective response is being made.

As an example, if flooding occurs Building Control officers will check whether buildings are safe, whilst Environmental Health staff will issue warnings associated with flood water and contaminated drinking water supplies.

At the same time we provide a liaison officer to work with the emergency services and, if necessary, we open the Emergency Control Centre as a 'command and control' centre to co-ordinate the work of the various council departments and services.

We work with our colleagues at Hampshire County Council who may have to open a prepared rest centre for those who have no-where to go if they have been evacuated from their homes, and will provide a telephone help line that may be staffed around the clock.

These are all services that only local authorities can provide.

Recovery phase

After the event we provide the clean-up crews, waste removal teams and assistance to those affected. During this 'recovery' phase the local authority tends to take the lead, and aims to assist the return to normality as quickly as practicable, working closely with local communities, our partners in Hampshire County Council, the NHS and voluntary sector.

But none of this just happens by itself, and throughout the year there is an ongoing programme of training and exercises, with different groups of partners involved, and different scenarios tested.