Town and parish councils across the East Riding, together with community groups, are being urged to draw up plans to respond in the event of an emergency.
Many groups across the region have already drawn up plans to mobilise resources and support residents during an emergency situation.
Emergencies can take various forms, from properties catching fire to communities being cut off by snow, or coping with incidents such as the east coast tidal surge which saw widespread flooding last December.
Communities which have emergency plans in place are better placed to survive a disruption and recover afterwards.
Local knowledge may prove invaluable in responding quickly to a disaster, and community groups with such a plan in place may be able to apply for vital funding to help deal with the situation.
There are more than 100 communities with an emergency plan in the East Riding, and the Humber emergency planning service is urging more town and parish councils, and community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch, to make sure that they have an emergency plan in place.
Councillor Chris Matthews, East Riding of Yorkshire Council portfolio holder for infrastructure, highways and emergency planning, said: “Maintaining access to services is crucial for residents during an emergency situation and also aids in the recovery process.
“The council works closely with a number of partners to ensure the East Riding is prepared to tackle any emergency situation, but values the support of the wider community during such times and having effective localised plans in towns and parishes can make a real difference.
“I would urge all parish and town councils and community groups who haven’t already prepared an emergency plan to consider doing so.”
Parish council chairman John Mabbett, of North Ferriby Parish Council, which has an emergency plan in place, said it played a useful role in helping the village to respond to the tidal surge on 5 December 2013 when almost 30 properties in the village were affected.
“North Ferriby Parish Council has an emergency plan and a small emergency committee. On 5 December and during the days that followed, applying the principles of our plan, our ward councillor and the parish council acted as a conduit between the villages, emergency services, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Environment Agency,” he said.
“We have subsequently facilitated dialogue between residents and the Environment Agency and were able to provide the agency with an accurate account of what happened in the village. Our plan is not yet perfect and we will undertake further work to improve it. I would recommend the implementation of an emergency plan to all parish councils.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council operates a Local Grant Fund which enables town and parish councils to apply for up to £3,000 through the community partnership team.
The fund for 2014/15 will prioritise activities that focus on community resilience and emergency preparedness, including severe weather and flood preparations.
In order to be eligible for this funding, town and councils need to have prepared a community emergency plan.
Funding through this scheme is also available for community projects where no funding is available from other sources, or where a contribution from the Local Grant Fund will draw in funding from other sources.
For information about preparing an emergency plan, contact East Riding of Yorkshire Council on (01482) 393051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the grant scheme, town and parish councils should contact their community partnership co-ordinator through http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/council/working-with-our-partners/community-partnerships.