Image shows the centre of Falkirk town centre

EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES: FALKIRK COUNCIL’S INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

This year the Falkirk Council resilience team have been undertaking an innovative pilot project which is supporting the development of ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ in community-owned buildings across the town.

Published: 14 December 2023

This year the Falkirk Council resilience team have been undertaking an innovative pilot project which is supporting the development of ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ in community-owned buildings across the town.

This year the Falkirk Council resilience team have been undertaking an innovative pilot project which is supporting the development of ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ in community-owned buildings across the town. The project takes inspiration from a successful initiative in New Zealand where emergency hubs were developed in communities to build resilience during major incidents[1]. The project has a focus on not only creating these ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ but also strengthening community connections and collaboration.

The project addresses a critical need – In an emergency, it can often take housing associations or local authorities’ hours to set up rest centres, a gap the project aims to fill by empowering community groups. Through evidence gained at community learning days, it’s apparent that incidents can be resolved within hours and sometimes before rest centres are set up, provided a community is well-prepared. The importance of having trained community groups who can activate ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ plans reduces the liability and risk for these groups during incidents. 

Falkirk Community Planning mapping image
Falkirk Council have held a number of community learning days in association with the Scottish Community Development Centre. 

Currently, the Falkirk Council teams are working with two pilot groups to test their ‘Community Emergency Hubs’ centre plans. The two pilot communities have been engaged in the process of development and bring significant local knowledge to the project. The groups have been a part of asset and risk mapping sessions with further community learning days planned. Falkirk Council have been facilitating these learning days with the Scottish Community Development Centre and community groups with resilience experience from outside the area have attended to share experiences. Engagement with Category 1 responders has been a key part of the project to ensure an awareness of plans and a coordinated approach.

The project will provide identifying signage and grab bag equipment for each ‘Emergency Hub’ location. This will be supported by a communication campaign to ensure wide recognition of the group and location. In addition to this the Falkirk team are working on the development of a resilience calendar with the local groups. This calendar will feature key seasonal risk and identify some of the individual steps you can take to prepare.

Falkirk Community learning Day

As with all community and practice-based projects with part funding from the NCR, Falkirk Council hope to create a scalable project that can inform a model for applications across Scotland.  The project is a long-term process for the council, which if successful in the pilot areas will slowly be rolled out across the area. The sustainability of the project lies in incorporating continuous learning into the process and ensuring the support for knowledge exchange between groups. The project journey has just begun but the hope is that the communities of Falkirk will set for a more collaborative and resilient future

[1] Community emergency hubs WREMO. Available at: https://www.wremo.nz/get-ready/community-ready/community-emergency-hubs/ (Accessed: 06 December 2023).

You can read more about the Scottish Community Development Centre who Falkirk Council have been working with on their website

Share the Post:
Skip to content