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Dumfries and Galloway Community Flooding Response

What was the issue that made you start this project?

Dumfries & Galloway has endured many and various weather related incidents over the years which have resulted in a high proportion of communities working with D&G Council in developing Community Resilience arrangements to enhance their levels of resilience.  Our Community Resilience Teams asses all risks that their community face, followed by pulling together a suitably generic plan to respond.   In the winter of 2015/16 multiple successive storms caused significant flooding in several areas, resulting in damage to homes and businesses, and the need for evacuations.

Who was involved and what did they do?

The interaction between council staff and community groups highlights excellent examples of the work that community groups can do:

  • Langholm community group assisted police on the ground with door knocking when flooding became imminent
  • Newton Stewart community group distributed donations provided by both businesses and locals to where they were most needed
  • Moffat community group were able to alert the Fire Service when a vulnerable person in a house that was being flooded could not be contacted, allowing the Fire Service to perform a rescue
  • Carsphairn community was cut off by water and set up their own rest centre for those in need

How communication can work between different groups and bodies:

  • 57 Community Resilience Plans were already in place, and regular and ongoing community-council communication ensured widespread situational awareness of the situation across D&G for the council, and up to date information on the situation, actions and needs of their own individual areas for the communities.
  • A programme of community debriefs with the Community Resilience Teams ensured the opportunity to feedback areas of strength, and areas to improve, to further build upon existing community resilience

And how community resilience can be developed into wider areas:

  • Following the storms, the Resilience Team contacted all Community Councils that currently had not completed a plan highlighting the benefits of how these plans have worked for fellow communities.  Shortly after sending this information, at least 10 community groups indicated that they may wish to take forward community resilience within their area and requested the Community Resilience Template.

What worked well about the project?

Groups were able to assist emergency first responders in an appropriate way, meet the immediate needs of their community, and help their communities to cope in very challenging circumstances.

What did you learn during this project?

Ensuring that community debriefs happen as soon as possible after the event enables feedback to be fresh and immediate, in addition to capitalising on community enthusiasm and goodwill.

What was it that made it work?

Early preparation of plans, continual relationship building and communication during and after each emergency event.