Speeding up emergency response times

Clearing snow on Chirnside High Street
Clearing snow on Chirnside High Street

A new messaging system will soon be in operation to alert Borders communities to emergencies and issues in their area.

Recent storms have focused attention on how communities respond to emergencies and Scottish Borders Council is improving communications so that any of the partners involved in their Resilient Communities’ initiative can contact communities by email, text, or standard phone line to let them know of severe weather, missing persons, flooding risk etc.

Explaining the new system to co-ordinators across the Borders the council’s emergency co-ordinator, Jim Fraser, said: “You and your volunteers will receive an email asking them to sign up to the new system if they wish. In an emergency the responding service, for example a ‘missing person’ incident, the police will alert the community directly.

“In the case of severe weather rather than you having to send on the message we can alert all your volunteers or all the volunteers in the Borders very easily, if required.”

Towards the end of last year Burnmouth’s co-ordinator indicated that they were stepping down because of the level of bureaucracy involved and the council has taken this on board.

Jim Fraser said: “When we created the initiative we did not want to burden or create bureaucracy for the co-ordinator and that is still very much the case. These Resilient Community plans are your plans and we are here to support and assist you in your role.

“Once we have created your plan and delivered the equipment, the British Red Cross will deliver the First Aid training, and we will offer training for any new co-ordinators when required.

“What we have suggested to ensure sustainability and continuation of the initiative is we carry out a training exercise for you once a year. All we ask is that from the list of potential exercises you choose one that you suits your community, we will arrange everything and ask that you assemble the volunteers for the training at a suitable location and convenient time.”