An Island Major Incident Plan is currently being finalised, centred on emergency planning arrangements that need to be in place should a major incident occur on St Helena. While the chances of a major incident occurring on the Island are very low, it is important that the right planning and preparedness are in place to deal with any such situation promptly and effectively.

The Major Incident Plan is being developed around identifying the biggest risks facing the Island and reducing these risks as much as possible. To ensure this, the Emergency Planning team – led by Alistair Smith – are currently identifying the Island’s existing capability to deal with major incidents and fine tuning any gaps in the process. They are putting together both a general Major Incident Plan and also some specific plans where the highest risks have been identified.

The public can be assured that having a robust emergency plan in place for the Island is being taken very seriously. Once completed the plan will not only look at potential Airport-related incidents – although this will be tested as part of the Airport Certification process – but will serve the Island as a whole.

The plan will operate under a ‘one Island’ team effort and in the event of a major incident key functions of the plan will include keeping the public informed, minimising the  impact and ensuring things return back to normal as quickly as possible.

In order for the plan to achieve its intention, over the next few months a series of training and tests will take place across SHG and the Island to ensure its effectiveness. The feedback from the consultation undertaken so far across SHG, utility functions, Basil Read and community groups has been very positive and over the next few months the emergency planning team will be holding further meetings within the community and will be looking to identify individuals who have skills that could be called upon in the event of a major incident.

A major incident exercise will be held on 17 December 2014 which will be an essential part of preparation and implementation of the plan. This will be a whole Island event and people are kindly asked, if at all possible, to avoid planning any major Island activities on this day. The public will be kept informed of developments leading up to December’s exercise and community groups interested in taking part are asked to contact Alistair through the St Helena Access Office, on tel: 22721 or email: Alistair.Smith@sainthelena.gov.sh

SHG

28 July 2014

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