While we don’t have the same risk weather related natural disasters on the same scale that are faced in other parts of the world, living with Scotland’s changeable weather can pose all sorts of challenges. This is true all year round, but is particularly so over the winter months. Severe weather has the ability to disrupt our daily lives, in all sorts of ways, like the loss of power and property damage. Anyone can be affected, and some people can find it more difficult to cope than others.
Our resilience matters.
Of course, creating resilient communities isn’t something that Government can do itself, but working alongside it’s partners in all sectors, it can provide support and advice and help create the conditions in which resilience can flourish.
Scotland has excellent emergency response organisations, including voluntary sector and utilities companies, work closely together to understand and reduce risks and plan for emergencies, and when necessary to respond and recover from them. Scotland has 3 Regional Resilience Partnerships which enable the emergency services and responder community, work effectively in a co-ordinated way. These arrangements shift into action during any period of severe weather. For example, they were very active in terms of information sharing and co-ordination at the start of this year when storms Abigail, Desmond and Frank hit Scotland.
They work hard to prepare during the “quiet times” between emergencies, to ensure that they can respond most effectively when they are needed most. And that’s good advice for everyone.
We know that the actions that individuals, households and communities take to be prepared for severe weather make a real difference. In order to be resilient, we need to understand the risks that are likely to affect us, to take effective measures to prepare for emergencies and to know what to do to respond effectively. And really importantly, to be a good neighbour, and look out for those around us that might need a hand.
Across Scotland, in many communities, groups have got together with their local responders to form community resilience groups, with plans coping with disruption, and a group of volunteers ready to take action to help in their village or neighbourhood.
Resilience increasingly features in schools too, Education Scotland has produced resources for teachers and run networking events around the country that are designed to help teachers and local authorities work effectively with emergency responders to help Scotland’s young people learn about how to respond to the resilience challenges of the 21st century.
Ralph Throp - Head of Community Resilience Policy