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Community Emergency Plan Toolkit

Our toolkit provides practical support to help your community plan ahead. and become better prepared for emergencies. It draws on the experiences of other communities that have taken steps to prepare for emergencies. As well as information from professional partners

The toolkit can help you find solutions to common problems and save time. It can ensure your community volunteers are trained, insured and equipped to carry out their role in a safe and responsible way.

Community Emergency Plan

For support in developing your community emergency plan, contact the community link officer for your community network area. 

Your community link officer will explain:

  • what a community emergency plan is
  • how it might help your local community in an emergency incident. 

They can also help you get started on:

  • developing your plan,
  • support you through the process
  • arrange for the plan to be tested so you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. 

But they can’t write the plan for you – only you and your community will have the local knowledge needed for that.

The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency’s community engagement officers can help you:

  • identify the sources of flood risk in your community
  • give practical guidance on risks associated with flooding in your community emergency plan.

Cornwall Area Office
Sir John Moore House
Victoria Square
PL31 1EB

Tel: 0370 8506506

Cornwall Community Flood Forum support

The Cornwall Community Flood Forum supports households, businesses and communities to become better prepared ahead of flooding.

The Forum can provide examples of community flood plans, case studies, resources and training for volunteers. The Forum can also put you in touch with established groups and others who have written plans so you can learn from their experiences.

A community emergency plan is a written document detailing the steps your community will take before, during and after an emergency incident. It helps you to manage local activities to reduce the risk to people and property in your community.

Your community emergency plan can deal with specific emergency incidents like flooding, snow or fire.  Or it can be a general emergency plan to cover any event.

There is no right or wrong way to create a community emergency plan, but a template is a good place to start as it will help ensure you’ve covered key issues.

Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council’s community emergency plan template is a good starting point for your community emergency plan. It covers a range of risks, including flooding. There's also a version of the template with guidance on how to complete it.


The GOV.UK website includes guidance on preparing for flooding and extreme weather conditions for:

  • community groups,
  • businesses
  • and individuals.

Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office offers a selection of community resilience resources and tools to help you start your community emergency plan. It includes:

  • a guide on preparing for emergencies for communities,
  • a community emergency plan toolkit
  • a community emergency plan template.

Community Resilience Network

The Community emergency plan groups page has links to community emergency plans created by other communities in Cornwall. You may be able to:

  • adapt one of these,
  • create your own plan based on elements from several different plans
  • or contact the community resilience groups to find out more about how they developed their plans.

Training helps staff and volunteers to be aware of the risks they may face in an emergency incident like a major flood.  It also helps them to understand what’s expected of them and ensure they don’t place themselves or others at unnecessary risk.

Some of the training you might want to think about for you and your volunteers includes risk awareness training, first aid, and health and safety.  Please be aware that there may be a charge for training.  We don’t recommend any particular organisation, but these are some of the places you could start looking for training:

Your community doesn’t have to spend lots of money to become better prepared for an emergency. The most important investment is the time given freely by your community volunteers in identifying the risks and the local resources you might call upon to deal with an emergency.

Financial support has now ceased with immediate effect from the Severe Weather Recovery grant for community based recovery and resilience work.

Alternative funding streams will be explored. For example Community Chest Grants and Community Infrastructure Levy funding opportunities.

The Emergency Management team will continue helping communities develop their resilience by providing:

  • advice
  • guidance
  • support
  • training
  • resources

Cornwall Councillor Community Chest Grants

Community Chest grants can be used to support a wide range of local groups and activities. Including projects that tackle community safety issues.

Cabinet Office

GOV.UK's Community Emergency Plan Toolkit contains a list of funding sources and search engines to helping you find funding.

As part of becoming prepared for an emergency, your community group will need to consider how it works with volunteers, the insurance and legal cover it needs


A check list for organisations to use when working with volunteers covers the main things you will need to think about. It includes things like recruitment, training, and supervision.


Much of Cornwall Council’s insurance guidance for community groups also applies to groups working on community emergency plans. Most community groups focus on public liability insurance, but you may want consider:

  • professional indemnity
  • employer’s liability
  • personal accident insurance

There are different ways to provide affordable insurance cover for your group and volunteers. These include private insurance companies that offer municipal insurance for volunteer community groups. A community group and its volunteers may be affiliated with the local town or parish council and come under its insurance policy.

Contact the clerk of your local town or parish council to discuss whether this is possible. The insurance provider may impose a limit on the number of volunteers and type of activities it will cover. The insurer may also require proof of adequate training.

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act

The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act also gives volunteers and community groups legal reassurance that courts will take account of the fact that they have been acting to help society if something goes wrong and they end up being sued.

Community emergency plans may identify equipment and resources that are already held in the community and could be used to respond to an emergency. This can be anything from shovels to diggers.

Some communities buy specific equipment to be used only in an emergency and provide a package of equipment for their volunteers. Others don’t provide any specific equipment for volunteers.

If you do provide equipment, it’s important to ensure that it’s well maintained and that people are trained to use it.

The equipment should reflect the risks identified and the level of risk the volunteers face. Organised volunteers should have appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) that’s fit for purpose. In most instances volunteers will have their own suitable footwear and clothing. It’s a good idea to provide them with high visibility clothing such as a vest or jacket. These usually have ‘FLOOD WARDEN’ or similar printed on the back to make the volunteers easy to identify.

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