Acting out an emergency

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A HUGE power failure was simulated as Wigan Council tested its abilities to deal with a major disaster.

Set to coincide with the Government’s Community Resilience Week, the borough has been pooling talent at an annual convention for Wigan’s Local Strategic Partnership in order to see how the borough could cope.

Tina Smith, civil contingencies manager for Wigan Council, said: “A real-time simulation using the talents of 231 people from across the public, private, community and voluntary sectors is an important way to see how people and organisations respond in a crisis.”

Working with Wigan Pier Theatre Company, officers watched as groups and individuals dealt with being faced by a power cut scenario. They were noting practical solutions as well as people’s skills and community assets that could help them through a crisis.

Participants were able to identify crucial elements to overcome the “crisis.”

Alternative power supplies such as a farm generator were noted by attendees from Shevington, and using taxi radios as an alternative form of communication was a suggestion from Hindley. And attendees from Pemberton and Ashton were very positive about the communication skills of their residents.

Those taking part included the council’s own Chief Executive, Joyce Redfearn, Miranda Barker of the Wigan Chamber of Commerce, as well as senior police officers, politicians and business leaders from William Santus and other firms based in the borough.

The next stage is to ensure local community groups are aware of what they can do and the roles they may need to take in the case of a major crisis.

Council contingency officers are keen to work with residents and tenants groups and provide information and advice to them.

Go to www.wigan.gov.uk and type ‘emergency plans’ into the search box to learn more.