Responding to an emergency

What is an emergency?

The Civil Contingencies Act defines an emergency as:

  • an event or situation that threatens serious damage to human welfare in the UK
  • an event or situation that threatens serious damage to the environment in the UK
  • war or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK

Examples of emergencies include:

  • flooding
  • storms
  • pollution
  • major road traffic incidents
  • suspect packages
  • acts of terrorism

The Councils' role in an emergency

In the event of a major incident our role is to support the emergency services to ensure a quick and prepared response. We also have a duty to provide aid to neighbouring boroughs and districts

The Civil Contingencies Act also requires that we have robust business continuity plans in place so that we can continue, where practical, to provide services during a major emergency. 

For more information, please see:

Community resilience

Communities are better prepared to respond to and recover from an emergency if they come together, using their local resources and expertise to support each other and the response of the emergency services. This is known as community resilience.

Simple ways to help your family and your wider community be better prepared for an emergency and reduce the impact of a major incident include:

  • identifying the potential risks you and your community may face, eg flooding
  • making sure you are aware of anyone in your community who may need more assistance in the event of an emergency
  • finding out about existing emergency plans in your community, and how you can get involved

For more information on how communities can support emergency planning, response and recovery, please see:

You can also find more information on the Sussex Resilience Forum, see below.

If you would like to discuss your community plan with us, please contact the Emergency Planning Officer.

Sussex Resilience Forum

The Sussex Resilience Forum is a multi-agency partnership responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Civil Contingencies Act in Sussex, working together to prepare and respond to emergencies. They produce a local risk register which details potential major risks for Sussex, and what is being done to manage and reduce these risks.

For more information, please see:

Further information:

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Page last updated: 16 March 2021

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