Ivor opens eyes to emergencies

Hi there – its been a busy week on the home and work front.  We’ve been househunting and (hopefully) will soon be able to put down roots properly in Staffordshire.  I also managed to find a bit of time to watch England complete a very professional victory over Pakistan in the Test Match, although this was tinged with sadness at the devastation that the floods have brought to that country.

 It brings into focus the need for good emergency planning as, although you hope it won’t happen, you never know what might be round the corner that we need to respond to.  I’ve taken part in Operation Ivor this week. This was both eye-opening and important. Ivor is emergency planning training and has helped prepare me for my role in dealing with major emergencies.

In the eyes of the law the county council is an emergency service – the Civil Contingencies Act places us on the same footing as the Police and Fire Service.

We have a significant part to play in the event of emergencies, whether natural, such as a flood or disease outbreak, or man-made like a ‘plane crash, terrorist incident or major fire.

We have major responsibilities for keeping the transport infrastructure working, supporting evacuees and warning and informing the public to name but a few. Essentially we help the people most directly affected by the emergency and try and prevent it from affecting the smooth running of the rest of Staffordshire.

Emergencies in recent years where we have been very active have included flooding in Lichfield, Swine Flu and Foot and Mouth Disease.

On a separate note I’ve also had a meeting this week with Professor Christine King, Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University. We talked about various ways in which we could collaborate more in future, particularly around learning, skills and economic development. I met with several students who now run start-up companies with support from the university and was hugely impressed by what they are doing.

I was surprised to learn that Staffordshire University has thousands of graduates from overseas who live all over the globe, and value their links back to Staffordshire – a case of the knot uniting internationally as well as in Staffordshire.  I’m keen to explore how we can use this to stimulate investment into the County from overseas, but more of that another day. 

Finally, keep your questions and responses coming in on the new way of working. We are responding to every query direct or via the FAQs where names are not provided.

I’ll sign off now and wish you all a great weekend – start of the football season and I’m off to see Peterborough United play (don’t ask) before Middlesbrough start their season next weekend – as ever, I will live in hope!! 

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