Photo: a community group working on emergency planning

Community Emergency Planning

ACT is working with communities across Cumbria to support and raise awareness of Community Resilience and Emergency Planning.

How could you work together in your community to be better prepared and support each other in difficult times? How would your community survive the first 48 hours of a serious emergency? You may be cut off from the emergency services, or if the incident covers a large area, they may be occupied elsewhere. Community Emergency Plans can help to minimise the impact of an emergency and help communities to recover more quickly.

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Communities are being encouraged to plan for extreme weather events, and other types of emergencies, in order to:

  • Be better prepared for an emergency
  • Know what to do, before outside help and emergency services can arrive
  • Work with emergency services and other agencies effectively, using local knowledge
  • Recover more quickly and effectively after an emergency

Although extreme weather conditions, such as flooding and heavy snow, are the most common emergencies which we face, there are a range of other emergencies that could occur within a community such as gas leaks, fires, mass power failure, and major traffic incidents and more widely health pandemics, like Covid19. A plan helps people prepare for an emergency, organises neighbourly help during the incident, makes appropriate links to emergency services and local authorities, and assists with recovery after the event.

Visit the 'Relevant Resources' section below for guidance and template documents.

Cumbria has a Community Resilience Coordinator, Carolyn Otley ( seconded from Cumbria CVS to the statutory Local Resilience Forum (LRF). ACT works closely with Carolyn and the LRF, chairing the LRF community resilience working group. Contact us for further information.

Community Emergency Plans are stored on Support Cumbria, follow this link for more information –

Eden Community Emergency Planning Grant

For communities in Eden locality, a small £150 Community Emergency Planning grant is available, plus a further £150 Community Emergency Readiness grant is available to help communities with a plan to be better prepared to deliver it. Grant guidance and application forms are available under 'Relevant Resources' below.

Free Public Liability Insurance

ACT works with Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch (CNWA) who promote safer neighbourhoods and kinder communities. The Cabinet Office fund the national Neighbourhood Watch Public Liability Insurance. Joe Murray, the chair of CNWA has negotiated for Cumbria’s emergency planning groups to be given this free public liability cover.  This really useful offer is easy to access by:

  • Joining CNWA – it’s free and can be done online;
  • Having an emergency plan and risk assessment (see 'Relevant Resources' below);
  • Using the logo on your publicity to show you are being supported with NWA insurance.

Further details here: Free Public Liability Insurance for Community Emergency Planning Groups updated 2024 and Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch - Guide to setting up a scheme on the website.

Emergency Plans and Covid-19

During the Covid19 pandemic many communities used their Emergency Plans and Risk Assessments to work safely in supporting their communities. On the Covid 19 and Neighbourliness pages, you can see more information about ongoing work and ideas to help develop resilience in communities.

Rebuilding Together project

During the Rebuilding Together Project. ACT worked with over 100 communities to raise awareness of community resilience issues. We encouraged communities to discuss the issues, even if, as many communities decided, a Plan was not the route they wished to take.

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What people say about ACT

  • Work with communities, encouraging participation and empowering people

    Diane Ward

    Copeland Borough Council

  • ACT values and supports local people whilst enabling the development of resilience in individuals and the community

    Karen Dutton

    NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board

  • I think the community sector is under acknowledged and you have your eye on the ball.

    Andrea Aldridge

    Manna House

  • ACT build resilience within rural communities across Cumbria

    Aftab Khan

    Cumbria County Council

  • Community Planning Advice/Community Led Housing support

    Roe Baker


  • The great support the staff have been able to give our group

    Joy Chivers

    Flimby Flood Action Group

  • ACT gives free information and resources

    Keith Rhodes

    Gosforth Public Hall

Relevant Resources

Guidance Sheets

Research & Other Publications

Case Studies


Keswick Community Emergency Plan Sept 2012

Emergency plan developed by the community and partners as a result of the 2005 Floods.

Third party resources

Visit: for a wide variety of resources to support communities, businesses, and individuals to plan for emergencies, including Environment Agency advice specifically about flooding.

Visit Cumbria County Council website to find out about emergency planning for your household and business, severe weather, flooding advice, and other information.

Visit The Flood Hub website - supporting communities to manage flood and coastal risk across the North West.

ACT’s national Network organisation Action with Communities in Rural England has produced a guide that you can access here: