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Creating a Community Emergency Plan


Emergencies happen. In the last few years, Scotland has experienced severe winter weather, flooding, travel disruption, fuel shortages, animal diseases, and a pandemic flu outbreak. Challenges like these affect us all in going about our daily lives, and every community has a different reason for wanting to plan to get through them.

The good news is that how communities organise themselves to prepare for emergencies can make a big difference. The Guide to Emergency Planning for Community Groups shows how communities can make that difference by coming together to support each other.  It can be used by any community organisation - or by a group of people in a community who want to be more prepared.

At the heart of how communities get through emergencies is how 'resilient' they are - this means how well they can use their strengths to:

  • prepare for
  • respond to
  • recover from emergencies

More resilient communities:

  • are aware of risks that may affect them and how vulnerable they are to them
  • use their existing skills, knowledge and resources to prepare for, and deal with, the consequences of emergencies
  • work together to complement the work of the local emergency responders before, during and after an emergency

This isn't about doing the job of the emergency services. It's about supporting your community and those in it by making sensible preparations and using the skills and knowledge that the community has.


Here we have outlined the main actions needed to create your Community Emergency Plan. You can download more detailed guidance on each action or just go ahead and download the community emergency plan template and get started!

  1. Decide who (and where) your plan is for
  2. Set up a Community Emergency Group and appoint a coordinator
  3. Talk to your local authority and other key agencies if you need to, and the rest of your community
  4. Complete a risk assessment
  5. Complete the local skills and resource template in the Community Emergency Plan template
  6. Identify list of sites. Complete key locations in the Community Emergency Plan template
  7. Complete a telephone tree
  8. Record who needs copies of your plan

How to use your plan

  1. Record the process by which you will activate your plan
  2. Record first steps to take once a plan is activated
  3. Use the Community Emergency Plan template to record actions agreed with your local authority in respect of evacuation
  4. Record alternative communication methods to use during an emergency

How to practise your plan

  1. Regularly review and update you plan
  2. Practise your plan with all your volunteers and local emergency responders if possible


If you are thinking of creating a community emergency plan, then the following documents can help you out.

The Guide to Emergency Planning for Community Groups is available to download as a pdf which, along with detailed guidance on how to start and develop your plan, has some helpful examples of good practice.

Guide to Emergency Planning for Community Groups

Create your own Community Plan straight away by simply downloading the Community Emergency Plan template.

Community Emergency Plan Template

You can also create an emergency plan for your house by downloading the Household Emergency Plan template.

Household Emergency Plan Template

The following two leaflets could help you spread the Community Emergency Planning message in your community - through mail drops or to hand out at meetings and events.

If your group collects information about people in your community, you need to
follow straightforward data protection rules. This two-page guide tells you how to this.

Data Protection Guide for Community Resilience Groups

You should check that your community group has the insurance cover it needs to do the things it wants to do with confidence. The following leaflet provides guidance on this.

Insurance for Community Resilience Groups

Health and safety doesn't need to be complicated, and won't stop your group getting involved.

Health and Safety for Community Resilience Groups 

The Scottish Government is open to feedback on the guidance on this page and will update it periodically. If you have any comments or suggestions on how we could improve the Guide, please let us know.