Helping communities all over the Cotswolds to cope with whatever fate may throw at them is the task for recently-returned Cotswold District Council employee Tim Dowan.
Tim is the authority’s new Community Resilience Liaison Officer, and has a key role helping towns and villages prepare for future emergencies, while helping them to recover and learn from problems in the past.
In his new position, Tim spends a lot of time liaising with towns and parishes, as well as the emergency services, to provide communities with their own unique plans and ways they can plan for incidents such as last July’s floods.
Knowing who can operate certain types of machinery, such as a chainsaw or a JCB, who is a qualified first aider, who is the best ‘leader’ in an situation and where the vulnerable residents live – such as the elderly or disabled – can all help communities to ‘pull together’ and respond to any sort of emergency in a calm but confident way.
Tim said: “It’s all about taking control of a situation and knowing what resources are available to help out. You identify what and where the potential problems are, including the vulnerable people or places within your community, and work out who and when, and with what equipment, would be best available to help out.”
CDC has already played a key role in helping Fairford to co-ordinate its own emergency plans in the past, while Tim also helps smaller towns and villages to become more aware of how they can help themselves in the future.
And he has already seen communities in villages such as Naunton and Bourton on the Water do their bit by clearing river banks and unblocking culverts in a bid to prevent problems.
As well as helping towns draw up competent emergency plans, Tim also helps to organise training days and events, liaises with outside agencies and helps residents to put applications together for Community Resilience Grants of up to £10,000.
Tim added: “It’s not just flooding that communities may have to deal with. Although, thankfully, emergencies are rare, plans will also be needed in the event of major road accidents, freak weather and even air crashes. Having solid plans in place does allow residents to retain a degree of control in how they deal with the problem. They will feel safer and more confident knowing you have plans in place.”
Tim was formerly Smoke Free Gloucestershire Public Places Liaison Officer and prior to that worked as Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator for Cotswold District Council.
Source: Cotswold District Council