Community Resilience is an initiative supported by local, Scottish, and the UK governments originating from the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The principle is that communities develop a local plan so that they can help themselves during an emergency in a way that complements, but in no way replaces, the response of the emergency services and other responders.
Throughout 2016, a small development team met to develop a resilience infrastructure in Ballater to respond to any emergency situation such as flood, severe weather, prolonged loss of utilities and major incident. By the end of the year, the following was in place:
• Ballater Resilience Plan which includes a risk assessment, call-out arrangements and detailed checklists.
• Emergency Contacts List with telephone details of volunteers, emergency services, external agencies, support organisations, estates and useful local contacts
• designated evacuation reception centre and community coordination room based in the Victoria and Albert Halls in which emergency equipment and supplies are stored including telephones, radios, sleeping bags, mats and cots
• pool of over 30 volunteers (coordinators and helpers) all of whom have been trained in their roles and responsibilities
• conducted a tabletop exercise with Aberdeenshire Council, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The Ballater Resilience Plan can be invoked by the duty Aberdeenshire Council Emergency Planning Officer or Police Scotland; both have the contact details of the Resilience Team Coordinators and Key Holders for the Halls.
The Ballater Resilience Group continues to meet regularly to develop further initiatives to help the local community in emergency situations, and progress and other information is reported quarterly in the Eagle community magazine.