What is Emergency Planning?

What is Emergency Planning?

Many of us plan for emergencies in one way or another. We may give spare keys to neighbours; carry an emergency first aid kit, puncture repair kit, traffic warning triangle, etc.

Central government, local authorities, emergency services, businesses and other organisations also plan for emergencies, but on a much larger scale.


Emergency Planning has been around since the 1940s when the focus was on wartime planning, such as air raid warnings and bomb shelters.  The end of the cold war and a number of civil emergencies in the 1980s (Lockerbie, Piper Alpha, Hillsborough) changed the emphasis for emergency planning to planning for peacetime emergencies.

Emergency Planning in the New Millennium

Several serious events at the start of the new millennium, (fuel crisis, severe flooding in 2000 and the Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001) and the rising threat of Terrorism (the Twin Towers, 9/11), led the UK Government to carry out a review of the emergency planning arrangements.  This resulted in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the Contingency Planning (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013. 

Contingency Planning (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013

The Contingency Planning (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013 places clear roles and responsibilities on those organisations with a role in preparing and responding to emergencies.  Local Responders are divided into two categories, Category 1 and Category 2 Responders, depending on the extent of their involvement in civil protection work.

Category 1 Responders must cooperate to prepare and respond to emergencies.  In Grampian, Category 1 Responders are:

  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • The Moray Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council
  • Grampian NHS
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Category 2 Responders  are required to cooperate with Category1 responders.  The Category 2 Responders in Grampian are:

  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Utility companies
  • Transport infrastructure companies

The Act has two parts.  Part 1 focuses on local arrangements while Part 2 focuses on emergency powers for Government.  These emergency powers establish a framework for the use of special legislative measures that might be necessary to deal with the effects of the most serious emergencies – those which may affect the whole of the UK.

Definition of an Emergency

The Act defines an emergency as:

  • An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare;
  • An event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment; or
  • War, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to security.

The Contingency Planning (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013 is supported by Preparing Scotland: Scottish Guidance on Preparing for Emergencies:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/02/27140215/0 External website logo

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