Community resilience

What is community resilience?

Communities and individuals harnessing local resources and expertise to help themselves in an emergency, in a way that complements the response of the emergency services.

The emergency services have to prioritise those in greatest need during an emergency. Communities may need to rely on their own resources until professional help arrives. Many communities spontaneously help one another in times of need. But communities who have prepared in advance are able to cope better and recover faster. If a community is prepared for possible risks you can reduce the impact on your homes and businesses.

National Agenda

The Community Resilience agenda is being led by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat within the Cabinet Office, the aims of the Community Resilience Programme are to:

  • increase individual, family and community resilience against all threats and hazards
  • remove the barriers which inhibit or prevent participation in community resilience at a local level
  • support effective dialogue between the community and the practitioners supporting them
  • raise awareness and understanding of risk and the local emergency response capability in order to motivate and sustain self resilience
  • provide tools to allow communities and individuals to articulate the benefits of emergency preparedness to the wider community, and 
  • provide a shared framework to support cross-sector activity at all levels in a way that ensures sufficient flexibility to make community resilience relevant and workable in each local community

Local Agenda

The Isle of Wight Council is keen to encourage communities, including parish and town councils, to write their own community emergency plans. It is important to remember there is no statutory responsibility for these groups to plan for, respond to, or recover from emergencies. However, it is good practice for communities to identify hazards and make simple plans on how they may respond when faced with an emergency.

Further information on community emergency plans can be found in the government toolkit below.;

Preparing For Emergencies : Guide for Communities (PDF, 111KB, 15 pages). This guide will help you take the first steps to think about why and how you can help your community to be prepared for an emergency. It invites you to think about: 

  • why it is important to be involved and be prepared
  • what you can do to make it happen in your community, and
  • the help available to you to do this

Case studies show examples of how communities and organisations have equipped themselves to be ready to support people through emergencies. These can be used to help you think about what you might do in your community.

Community Emergency Plan Toolkit (PDF, 99KB, 20 pages)

This document is a step-by-step guide to help you and your community produce a Community Emergency Plan. A Community Emergency Plan is a tool you can use to help you prepare for the emergencies that could affect your community. It is just one way of planning within your community.

Community Emergency Plan Template (PDF, 541KB,12 pages).

This template is designed for you to fill in the details of your community emergency preparations. There are examples given to help you fill the template. Detailed notes on how to create a plan can be found in the Community Emergency Plan Toolkit.

Are you ready for an emergency?

Emergencies occur every day in one form or another. We hear about them on the radio or see them unfolding on the TV. We may try and imagine what we would do if it happened to us or in our local community. Minor emergencies, such as losing the house or car keys can be overcome by having a spare set available. In a similar way there are other simple measures that can be taken to prepare for more serious or prolonged emergencies.

Use this emergency checklist of 5 steps

Be Prepared – in the home

To be prepared it may be useful to consider keeping a supply of the following:

  • torch and spare batteries
  • blankets/sleeping bag
  • camping stove
  • bottled water
  • long-life food
  • details of prescription medication
  • first aid kit
  • battery powered radio and spare batteries
  • tin opener
  • matches

If you have very young children or pets, a stock of food for them and anything else you can think of that you might need. It would also be useful to make a list of important contact numbers, such as your doctor’s, home insurance and utilities’. You may be asked to turn off electricity, gas and water supplies so if you don’t know where they are and how to turn them of, it would be helpful to find out.

Be Prepared – in the car

Travelling on the Island you are never very far from a village or town. If you travel further afield or in bad weather conditions, it is a good idea to keep an emergency supply kit in your car in case you breakdown or get stuck.

All year round:

  • bottled water
  • first aid kit
  • torch and batteries
  • cigar plug lead for mobile phone
  • long life snacks

Winter months:

  • blanket/s
  • waterproof coat and warm hat
  • wellington/waterproof boots
  • spare thick socks

Government Advice

The Government has produced a booklet ‘Preparing for Emergencies’ which tells you how you can help yourself and your family in emergencies.

Emergency Contact Details

The following numbers will help you fill in the emergency contact details on page 20 of the Government booklet:

  • local police station 101 (central switchboard for calls to all Island police stations)
  • local authority (01983) 821000 (Isle of Wight Council’s Call Centre)
  • doctor contact information on all Island GP surgeries
  • school contact information on all Island schools
  • radio station and frequency (see below)

See also Emergency Information & Contacts  (website) for other numbers for coping with emergencies.

Go in - Stay in - Tune in

The "Go in - Stay in - Tune In" advice, included in the Government booklet is the best general advice for people caught up in most emergencies. If you are not involved in the incident, but believe your area may be affected, in most cases, the best thing to do is to go inside, stay inside and tune in to local radio or TV.

  • Isle of Wight Radio 107 MHz FM (102 for Ventnor area)
  • BBC Radio Solent 96.1 MHz FM
  • Ocean Sound 97.5 MHz FM
  • Greatest Hits Radio (South Coast)105.2 MHz FM
  • Power FM 103.2 MHz FM

Listen out for Help Line phone numbers and write them down. You may be asked to keep doors and windows closed i.e. in the event of a toxic/chemical cloud.


In certain specific situations the Emergency Services may ask you to leave your home. There are a number of reasons why this might happen, for example, flooding, a suspect package or a gas leak.

You may be away for just an hour or two or you may have to stay in temporary accommodation overnight or longer. If necessary, turn off electricity, gas and water supplies, unplug appliances and lock all doors and windows. Don’t forget to take your prescribed medication with you and if you have any pets and where possible, take them with you with pet carrier/collar and lead.

Resilience in Society has a wide range of information on how networks and individuals can support the country's emergency planning, response and recovery, and keep systems and services running.