Aston Business School leading the way on preparing the public for an emergency

Planning for a public emergency
Exploring the key stages of mass evacuation - planning before the incident, executon of plans during the incident and recovery after an incident.
8 February 2010

Senior public sector emergency planning officials gathered at Aston Business School this week (2 – 3 February 2010) to gain expert help on preparing the public for an emergency.

The delegates, from organisations including The Cabinet Office (UK), Crisis Center of the Belgian Government, Public Utility for Healthcare Emergencies (Spain),  the Civil Defense Committee (Iceland), and The Metropolitan Police (UK), attended a two day masterclass on planning for mass evacuation in the event of a major catastrophic incident (i.e. terror attacks, flooding and earthquakes).

The masterclasses formed part of a three year Aston Centre for Research into Safety and Security (CRISIS Centre) project on surveying how EU countries prepare for mass evacuation. The project, funded by the European Commission, is entitled Evacuation Responsiveness by Government Organisations (ERGO).

This week’s masterclasses involved speakers from Birmingham City Council, South Wales Police, Essex Country Council, The Civil Defense Committee in Iceland and HKV in the Netherlands (water safety specialists). Delegates explored the key stages of mass evacuation – planning before the incident, execution of plans during the incident (including evacuation, temporary shelter provision and availability of food and supplies) and recovery after an incident.

Prof Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems and Director of the Aston CRISIS Centre, Aston Business School said:

“Preparation for evacuation is critical for every member of the public. It is each person’s responsibility to prepare themselves for major catastrophic incidents. They can do this by learning what to do if they are told to evacuate, preparing family plans on where to meet and having enough supplies available in their home to sustain themselves for several days until emergency responders can reach them.

“These masterclasses sought to share best international practice on how to prepare the public including examples on educating schoolchildren, working with city centre store managers and working in small communities.”

Aston CRISIS Centre is holding their International Conference on Emergency Preparedness (InterCEPt) from 21 – 23 September 2010 on the the Challenges of Mass Evacuation. The conference, to be held at Aston Business School, will provide an opportunity for academics, practitioners and policy makers to share lessons, plans, approaches and methods to prepare governments for when disaster strikes, as well as to identify new approaches to prepare the public to respond to major incidents. Calls for papers are being accepted until 28 February 2010.


For more information contact Laura Plotnek, PR Officer, Aston Business School on 0121 204 4540 or l.plotnek@aston.ac.uk.

Notes to Editors

The CRISIS Centre provides a global research and consultancy service to high-level safety and security organisations. Clients include the Home Office (consultancy on preparing for a terrorist attack), the United Arab Emirate’s police force, the Fire and Rescue Service, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, the European Commission and the Defence Scientific and Technical Laboratory and its work has had widespread impact on policy and practice including:

  • The writing of new law in the area of dealing with nuclear waste
  • Informing high-level government policy advisors on preparing for evacuation in the event of a crisis
  • Training groups of international emergency managers
  • Transferring research findings to international governments.


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