12 October 2023


Photo: Lewis Chatfield



Powys County Council (PCC) is a highly significant Category 1 Responder and has a key role to play in planning for, responding to and recovering from an emergency or major incident.

PCC’s response to an emergency is outlined in its Major Incident Plan.

The principles that define an emergency in terms of the Act can be summarised as:

  • where more than one of the council departments is involved in the response;
  • where significant resources are required to respond effectively;
  • where specific disruption to public service is incurred;
  • where a response over and above day-to-day working practices is required.

The principal concerns of the local authority in the early stages of an emergency include support for the emergency services, support and care for the local and wider community and co-ordination of the response by organisations other than the emergency responders, e.g. the voluntary sector. As time goes on, and the emphasis switches to recovery and the return to normality, the local authority will take the lead role in coordinating the multi-agency management of impacts on local people, the economy, environment and infrastructure.


Key functions

The key functions of the County Council during an incident are:

  • Provide support to the emergency services
  • Identifying vulnerable population and providing support
  • Transport of evacuees and temporary shelter via establishment of Rest Centres
  • Care & counselling & welfare support
  • Humanitarian Assistance Centres for long term incidents
  • Warning & Informing including setting up of a helpline
  • Provision of plant, materials, personnel, expertise
  • Road closures & signage
  • Buildings assessment, maintenance & demolition
  • Provision of temporary mortuary facilities
  • Provision of advice: Environmental, Health & Safety, food safety, dangerous buildings


Identifying vulnerable people

As part of the multi agency response to the incident, the local authority will identify known vulnerable people in the affected area. They will also rely on the community to assist in identifying vulnerable people, both existing and those made vulnerable by the incident. A multi agency approach will be adopted to support vulnerable people, existing and new, following an incident.


Role of the Council’s Emergency Planning Department

Powys County Council has an Emergency Planning Department, which is responsible for the co-ordination of the Council’s emergency response.

The Emergency Planning Department co-ordinates the planning and preparation, training and exercises for emergencies.  It will manage any minor emergencies, calling out relevant Council service areas, personnel, resources as appropriate.

The Emergency Planning Department works in close collaboration with the emergency services, health, other government agencies, neighbouring authorities, volunteer groups and others, to ensure the response to a major emergency is co-ordinated between all the agencies involved.

The Emergency Planning Department provides a 24-hour Duty Emergency Planning Officer (Duty EPO) who is the first point of contact for the emergency services whenever they require support.


Roles of specific local authority’s service areas

Each service area has its own sphere of activity expertise, that may or may not be called into operation should an emergency occur. These are outlined in more detail in the PCC Major Incident Plan.

Most directorates and services have dedicated “emergency liaison” officers who work with the Emergency Planning Dept to prepare for and respond to incidents. Departmental procedures for dealing with emergencies will be activated by each relevant service.

A friendly, vibrant, forward-thinking village in the South East corner of the county of Powys. We are surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park. 
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