The Joint Emergency Planning Unit (JEPU) coordinates the council's readiness and ability to respond to emergencies and supports the community in the recovery from incidents. The JEPU is a service provided by West Berkshire District Council in partnership with Bracknell Forest and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead councils, ensuring a consistent approach to emergency planning and response across all three areas.
Is an emergency happening now?
The Emergency Planning service's objectives are:
- Ensure we deliver our statutory obligations under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
- Assess the risks which could affect the council area and use this to inform the priority of planning and allocation of resources. Details of the community risk register can be found on the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum website.
- Ensure there are plans in place to allow the council to respond effectively to support communities affected.
- Provide training and exercising opportunities to ensure staff understand their roles in an emergency.
- Support individuals, businesses and communities so they can be better prepared and more self-reliant during emergencies.
To achieve these objectives we work with several other organisations that may respond to an emergency also. In particular, we work in partnership with the other Berkshire Unitary Authorities and the Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum. This is a forum that allows all local, national and specialist responders to work together to identify risk and work on plans and processes to mitigate the risks and respond to emergencies as effectively as possible.
Types of Emergencies
Emergencies happen all the time and are managed by the relevant emergency services, utility companies and the council. Some emergencies require a more multi-agency response involving a wider range of responders including National Highways, the Environment Agency and the UK Health Security Agency, these include:
- Severe weather, such as wide-spread flooding, extreme cold or extreme heat,
- Infectious diseases, such as flu,
- Industrial accidents,
- Terrorism acts.
Along with other organisations, we identify potential risks within the council area and try to respond to all eventualities by ensuring services across the council are ready to work to prepared plans. We check with other agencies, such as the emergency services and our neighbouring councils, to ensure all our emergency plans complement one another.
What else does the JEPU do?
Our work isn't just about planning for emergencies but also involves specific work that reduces the risks of emergencies happening. These include:
We provide information and advice concerning events planned to take place. These events range from small local fayres to larger sporting or entertainment events, agricultural or military shows and carnivals. We provide this advice through the Safety Advisory Group (SAG).
Reviewing planning applications
Where they are planned in flood risk areas or adjacent to significant risk sites.
We actively promote and support communities, schools, care providers, businesses and individuals to be prepared and have plans. See Preparing for Emergencies for more information.
The JEPU can be emailed at EmergencyPlanning@westberks.gov.uk.