Community encouraged to have input on village's emergency plan
PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 September 2019
An action plan to protect flood-prone Tipton St John Primary School could be extended to cover the village in an emergency.
Martin Rich, community projects advisor for Devon Communities Together, spoke at Ottery Town Council's meeting on Monday about the benefits of producing an emergency plan for the whole of the village.
The primary school is currently developing a document due to its location near the River Otter which when flooded has forced the site to close on a number of occasions.
Staff and students regularly carry out flood evacuation drills in case of another incident.
Devon County Council is looking to relocate the school onto a new site.
Executive head teacher Colin Butler told the meeting: "Just as the schools have fire evacuation plans, Tipton has a flood evacuation plan and we have to practice it because of the danger.
"It (the emergency plan) is something that we have got to do but we recognise the effect on the community. A lot of our parents have to travel to get the children and the community has been very good in supporting us.
"It's unreliable, last year we did not close because of flooding. The year before, we closed four times."
Guest speaker Mr Rich told the council 90 parishes in Devon have developed an emergency plan to tackle issues including flooding, major snow falls or road accidents.
Devon Communities Together partners with the Environment Agency, blue light services and Devon County Council in a resilience forum working to action the plans. Once an emergency plan is a place it can be accessed on a database by incident commanders and supporting agencies, during, and in the aftermath of an emergency. The advisor said DCT would be happy to help the town through the process with the council or group of volunteers to develop the school's plan.
Mr Rich said: "It (the emergency plan) quite a good starting point. Whilst many people will say 'we are a good community, if anything happens we pull together', if you have a plan it provides a nucleus - and if things do not go to plan you have thought things through. You have thought about how you want to address things. You have identified potential problems. You have identified the resources you have got. It will help you."