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SCOTTISH GUIDANCE ON RESILIENCE

November 2017

Annex B – Support Centres

Annex B – Support Centres

The following should be considered when identifying potential centres.

  1. Premises - When choosing premises managers should ensure they are fit for purpose, giving consideration to proximity to the incident (ie close enough to be convenient for those using, but far enough away from danger; size; facilities available - e.g. sitting areas, kitchen, toilets etc; security; transport links; communication links; available parking; access for emergency services; sustainability and impact on normal use, whilst considering compliance with all relevant legislation including Health & Safety at Work Regulations and the Equality Act 2010.
  2. Roles and Responsibilities – Whether from statutory or voluntary agencies, staff working at a centre should be clear of the purpose of the centre. All staff should be briefed prior to starting their first shift which should include, information on their specific role, other support which may be offered in the centre, reporting structures and how they can access support if they are overwhelmed by their involvement. It may be of benefit if these are clearly laid down within the specific guidance for the various agencies.
  3. Call Out Procedures – These should form part of the overall emergency contact process and staff should make themselves aware of their own organisations’ generic emergency procedures and where they fit into the wider picture.
  4. Documentation – In most areas across Scotland, pre-printed documentation forms for use in Support Centres have been prepared and made available for the collection of basic personal information. These forms should include a question which seeks consent to share information with relevant agencies to facilitate the provision of support. It is important that staff members working in a Support Centre are trained in the appropriate processes. In addition, Category 1 and 2 Responders should be aware that there is a legal duty (within the limitations set out in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004) to share information in the context of emergencies and should develop information sharing protocols (particularly in relation to identifiable people) as part of their data-sharing partnership arrangements. Information sharing across the agencies should be agreed and understood and if necessary, specialist advice should be sought on data protection and duties of care as they apply to different organisations. The care for people response may stall if agencies are not able to contact those affected.
  5. Religious or Cultural Requirements – specialist requirements should be considered prior to an event in addition as to how these will be provided. These may include - dietary requirements, social engagement, provision of interpreters and body handling in the event of a deceased person.
  6. Further Medical Provision – if appropriate, the provision of a First Aid Room should be identified to allow the treatment of minor injuries and other illnesses not requiring hospitalisation. An agreed procedure should also be considered for the attendance of a medical practitioner, e.g, a nurse and/or doctor to attend as required; the attendance of a pre identified GP; making use of an individual’s own GP or the utilisation of a doctor or paramedic. Procedures on how to obtain prescribed medications out with normal working hours should also be identified and understood by staff. Particular attention should be given to the elderly, disabled or unaccompanied children who may not make their medical needs known to staff. Medical staff should be trained in Psychological First Aid and should be able to access advice from a mental health clinician as required.
  7. Pets – A clear policy on pets should be agreed in advance of an incident as to whether or not they will be accommodated at a centre. Previous incidents have identified that some people will not evacuate from their homes without their pets, and arrangements to care for their animals need to be built into plans. For public health, hygiene and sanitation reasons, animals should not be sheltered in the same area of a building as humans. To assist the decision making process, advice may be available from local environmental health offices or the Scottish SPCA. However, if pets are not allowed within the centre, alternative arrangements should be considered and evacuees advised accordingly. Further information is available at paragraph 4.43 of the Guidance Document “Evacuation and Shelter Guidance”, HM Government January 2014.

 

The table below provides a summary of the 4 main types of centres typically set up during an emergency, it is recognised that some areas may also activate other types of centres. Naming of the centres may differ at a local level but should follow the basic principles and purposes. See also section on communications with regards to the naming of centres during an activation.

 

Type of Centre

Lead Agency

Purpose

Survivor Reception Centre

Police or Transport Company

Secure area where survivors not requiring hospitalisation can be taken for first aid, documentation, comfort and interview etc.

Rest Centre

Local Authority

Safe & Secure Place: Temporary accommodation
Evacuation: remove from danger zone.

Family & Friends Centre

Local Authority / Police

Coordination point for family and friends to await / provide information.

Humanitarian Assistance Centre

Local Authority

[LRP/RRP approval may be required]

Long-term one stop shop for all those affected by the emergency and for the coordination of agencies responding to the emergency, including public, private and voluntary agencies.

 

Survivor Reception Centre (SRC)

A Survivor Reception Centre is a secure area in which survivors not requiring hospital treatment can be taken for short-term shelter, first aid, documentation and, if necessary, Police interview.

The decision to open a SRC will normally be taken by the Police. The Care for People Team should be advised of the decision. The safety and wellbeing of survivors is of prime importance and the location of the SRC will be dictated by the type, scale and location of an emergency.

Its purpose includes:

  • provision of immediate shelter and information;
  • registration, recording details of survivors for the Police Casualty Bureau and Care for People Team;
  • initial interviews of survivors as potential witnesses and to gather evidence;
  • minor first aid to treat injuries;
  • help to meet any health and mobility needs;
  • refreshment;
  • immediate assistance and support for survivors; and
  • transfer to rest centres if required.

 

Location

A decision on the location of an SRC is likely to be a dynamic one that is influenced by a number of factors. Early contact with the Care for People Team may assist in identifying appropriate accommodation. A risk assessment should be carried out on any potential or actual location. In addition to considering the physical safety of survivors and ensuring they are not in any further danger, consideration should then be given to the facilities and services required and a location that does not provide reinforcement of the emergency that has occurred (for example, overlooking railway lines for train crash survivors). Considerations should include:

  • access and facilities for disabled people;
  • reception/registration area;
  • rest area;
  • interview rooms;
  • first aid;
  • toilet and washing facilities;
  • communications availability;
  • segregated areas for changing, nursing mothers, etc;
  • refreshments; and
  • areas for managers and staff.

 

Predetermined arrangements and early contact with the Care for People Team might allow access to accommodation that could meet the short term needs of a SRC and longer term rest centre if required. This would then avoid the need for those affected to travel between centres.

 

Management of the Survivor Reception Centre

A Survivor Reception Centre may involve a number of organisations including the Police, Local Authority, health and voluntary organisations. A Police Officer will generally be appointed as SRC manager in the first instance. As soon as possible, a Local Authority manager will assume the role of SRC manager, allowing the Police to concentrate on their principal activities. Some companies (e.g. transport operators and oil companies) may wish to make their own arrangements for establishing SRCs for their clients/personnel. It is important that these are identified in preparation and integrated with the Care of People Team's arrangements.

The centre manager will work with partners to ensure that the SRC is managed effectively. In particular that:

  • those using the SRC are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect;
  • effective arrangements are in place for reception and registration;
  • the personal needs of those affected are addressed as effectively as the situation allows;
  • evidence gathering procedures are implemented, if necessary;
  • good communications links are maintained with the Police Tactical Commander, Care for People Team, Casualty Bureau, Public Communications Group and other relevant response teams;
  • the welfare and wellbeing of SRC staff is considered at all times; and
  • health, safety and security are maintained.

 

Multiple SRCs

There may be more than one SRC in the response to a very significant incident or where survivors have been transported out of an area during the initial response.

If SRCs are opened by other RRPs close contact should be maintained between the Police, Casualty Bureau, RRPs, PCGs and Care for People Teams in all areas.

 

Rest Centre

A rest centre is a safe and secure place managed by the Local Authority for the temporary accommodation of people displaced by an emergency. It may provide overnight facilities in the short term.

Its purpose includes:

  • providing safety and shelter;
  • providing necessary health care (at the centre or elsewhere);
  • providing light refreshments;
  • registration, to enable details of evacuees to be gathered for the use of a Police Casualty Bureau and the Care for People Team;
  • providing for people's wellbeing and offering access to a range of personal and practical support services;
  • enabling contact with family and friends;
  • providing access to information on the progress of the emergency and its impacts. For example:
    • the nature of the incident;
    • news about family, friends or colleagues who may have been involved in the emergency;
    • the location of other survivors;
    • what will happen to them and when; and
    • providing facilities for the Police to interview affected people and witnesses, if necessary.

 

Decision to Open a Rest Centre

In most emergencies the emergency services will ask the Care for People Team to open a rest centre. In preparation, the Team should clarify the process for alerting Team members and property owners for opening a centre.

 

Location

In preparation Local Authority functional managers responsible for property should work with their RRP partners and the Care for People Team to identify possible locations for rest centres. They should consider:

  • general access, parking and facilities for disabled people;
  • cleanliness, warmth, lighting and ventilation;
  • impact on normal use;
  • comfortable rest area with suitable furniture;
  • separate sleeping areas with appropriate facilities;
  • toilet and washing facilities;
  • communication links, telephones, fax and internet, etc;
  • ability to meet routine regulatory requirements for use by large numbers of people;
  • security and privacy;
  • out of hours access arrangements;
  • health and safety;
  • facilities for:
  • reception and registration;
  • first aid;
  • food preparation and catering;
  • nursing mothers;
  • religious and cultural needs;
  • pets and animals (outside the centre);
  • staff facilities and rest rooms;
  • offices for managers;
  • interview rooms; and
  • recreation.

 

Management of the Rest Centre

A rest centre manager should be appointed by the Local Authority to lead a centre management team. The organisations which would be present at the rest centre should form a management team. It should include Local Authority functions (social services, child and adult care, environmental health, catering), Police, health and voluntary organisations and property owners. All members of the management team and their staff should be trained, exercised and clear about the rest centre and the facilities it offers.

The management team will ensure that the centre is managed effectively. In particular that:

  • those using the centre are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect;
  • arrangements are in place for reception and registration;
  • good communications links are maintained with the Care for People Team, Casualty Bureau, Public Communications Group and other relevant response teams;
  • statutory requirements are fulfilled (health and safety, environmental health, etc.)
  • the welfare and wellbeing of staff is considered at all times;
  • health, safety, order and security are maintained; and
  • the personal needs of those affected are addressed as effectively as the situation allows.

 

Family and Friends Reception Centre (FFRC)

A family and friends reception centre (FFRC) is a safe and secure place, away from public view, that is established to act as a focal point for the family and friends of those believed to be involved in an emergency.

Its purpose includes:

  • registration, confirmation of identity and interviewing of family and friends;
  • providing information about the incident;
  • recording full details of persons believed to be missing for the Casualty Bureau;
  • assisting with the investigation into the incident;
  • collecting forensic samples to assist in the identification and/or investigation process; and
  • providing initial practical and emotional support to families and friends.

 

Decision to Open a Family and Friends Reception Centre

A FFRC is likely to be required following emergencies causing significant casualties and/or fatalities.

The decision to open a family and friends reception centre will be made by the Police Tactical Commander in consultation with the Police Strategic Command.

In response to an emergency the Police will take the lead in identifying and opening an FFRC. The Care for People Team should be consulted as part of this process. As part of its preparation, the Team should clarify the process for alerting Team members and owners of property at which a FFRC is to be established.

 

Location

In preparation Local Authority functional managers responsible for property should work with their RRP partners and the Care for People Team to identify possible locations for FFRCs. They should consider:

  • the Community Risk Register;
  • impact on normal use and the local community;
  • general access, parking and facilities for disabled people;
  • security and privacy;
  • general ambience (natural lighting, furnishing, etc.);
  • areas for:
  • reception and registration;
  • rest;
  • toilet and washing facilities;
  • food preparation and dining;
  • religious and cultural needs;
  • staff working and rest facilities; and
  • communication links, including telephones, fax and if possible, internet and television reception.

 

Potential venues should be assessed by the Police for the privacy, safety and security of all those using the FFRC.

 

Management of the Family and Friends Reception Centre

Managing a FFRC will involve a number of organisations including the Police and Care for People Team. At a very early stage the Police will appoint a FFRC manager who will form a FFRC management team. The management team may include commercial organisations (for example, transport operators) and property owners.

The management team will ensure that the centre is managed effectively. In particular that:

  • appropriate organisations are represented at the centre;
  • medical support is available if required;
  • disability and diversity requirements (including interpreters) are assessed;
  • good communications links are maintained with the Care for People Team, Casualty Bureau, Public Communications Group and other relevant response teams; and
  • it constantly reviews the need to establish a humanitarian assistance centre (HAC).

 

Family and Friends Reception Centre Manager

The FFRC manager will be a Police Officer responsible for the overall operational effectiveness of the centre. They will consult with the Police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and the Police senior identification manager (SIM) regarding the FFRC role in the particular investigation and ensure that:

  • those using the centre are treated with dignity and respect;
  • effective arrangements are in place for their reception and registration;
  • accurate details of those using the centre are recorded and shared with the Care for People Team;
  • details of missing persons are recorded on the appropriate forms;
  • a risk assessment is carried out on use of the premises and appropriate control measures introduced if necessary;
  • details of those attending who need to be assigned a Police Family Liaison Officer are forwarded without delay ( SIO and SIM will be consulted on this process);
  • those using the centre are clear on the action being taken (including the deployment of FLOs where relevant) prior to them leaving the FFRC;
  • arrangements are in place to provide transport, accommodation and other necessary support for those using the FFRC; and
  • the special needs related to re-uniting family and friends are met by providing reunion areas: discreet private areas, perhaps remote from other centres, with appropriate facilities and support.

 

It is recognised that some companies (for example, transport operators and oil companies) may wish to make their own arrangements for establishing FFRCs for their clients and/or personnel. It is important that these are identified in preparation and integrated with the Team's arrangements.

 

Humanitarian Assistance Centre (HAC)

A humanitarian assistance centre is the place where co-ordinated support for people affected by an emergency is provided. The HAC is the "public face" of the Care for People Team. It is a multi-agency facility established to meet the needs of individuals and communities. It supports all of those directly affected by emergencies including survivors, the bereaved, families, friends and relatives of those affected, the wider community and staff.

The purpose of the HAC is to:

  • act as a focal point for gathering and disseminating information and advice;
  • provide a single point of access to services and support offered by all of the agencies caring for people;
  • allow people to make informed choices according to their needs;
  • ensure a seamless multi-agency approach to care for people to minimise duplication and avoid gaps in provision;
  • ensure that support is provided by those best able to meet people's needs;
  • monitor individual and community needs; and, where necessary,
  • gather evidence to assist investigations and identification processes.

 

Other emergency centres will refer individuals to a HAC for support and advice. It is important that the Care for People Team make effective arrangements to manage and share information between the centres set up in response to emergency.

Establishing a HAC should be considered as part of a generic response to a wide range of emergencies. A HAC will be required for emergencies involving large numbers of casualties (e.g. terrorism, transport accidents, natural disasters) here or overseas. They may cater for returning travellers, evacuees and visitors as well as local people.

There may be occasions where there is a local HAC (or a number of local HACs) from which a "one-stop service" will provide access to a range of specialist support services which are available but not present. On other occasions it may be appropriate to establish a virtual" HAC (helpline, website) from which support and advice can be provided and services delivered at remote locations. Communications links will become increasingly important at such times.

The HAC should only be opened when it is staffed and equipped to fulfil its purpose. The HAC specialist group should work closely with the Public Communications Group to publicise the opening of the HAC and its purpose.

 

Location

In most circumstances, a HAC will need accommodation at which access to support and information services can be managed. In preparation, Local Authority property managers, working with their RRP partners and the Care for People Team, should identify possible locations for HACs. Accommodation should enable the creation of an environment that is safe, secure and allows privacy where necessary. Issues to be considered in selecting a suitable venue include:

  • impact on normal use and the local community;
  • general access, parking and facilities for disabled people;
  • capacity to deal with the potentially large numbers of agencies and staff that may be involved;
  • security and confidentiality;
  • public transport links;
  • toilet and hygiene facilities;
  • communications facilities and provision;
  • refreshments;
  • areas for managers and staff (offices and rest rooms, catering, etc.); and
  • sustainability, since a HAC may be required for a considerable time.

 

Potential venues should be assessed by the Police for the privacy, safety and security of all those using the HAC.

 

Facilities

The Care for People Team will determine specific requirements in the light of the emergency. Consideration should be given to providing for the following facilities at a HAC:

  • reception and registration - for recording details of those affected and gathering information for the Care for People Team;
  • interview areas and rooms where enquiries and interviews can take place in privacy;
  • trained staff able to identify needs and provide access to personal support;
  • information points with access to current information, helplines, websites and the internet;
  • access to telephones;
  • quiet areas for those affected, families and friends who may wish time to reflect or relax;
  • food and refreshments for those affected;
  • childcare facilities; and
  • first aid provision.

 

Other Services

A range of additional services may be required depending on the emergency. They might include:

  • victim support services;
  • representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and officials from foreign governments where required;
  • representatives of transport companies or travel operators' care teams; and
  • access to independent advice on legal and insurance matters, compensation claims, benefits payments, and insurance related issues.

 

Management of the HAC

Once the RRP has authorised the opening of a HAC, the Care for People Team will determine:

  • which functions and services are required to meet the needs of those affected by the emergency; and
  • whether these are best met in a single or multiple centres dealing with different groups of those affected or communities.

 

The Team will delegate the day to day management of the HAC to its trained HAC specialist group. The group will identify a HAC manager.

 

Specific Roles within a Humanitarian Assistance Centre

Particular roles that should be considered include:

HAC manager - Who will work with partners to ensure that the HAC is managed effectively. In particular that:

  • those using the HAC are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect;
  • arrangements are in place for reception, registration and identification of needs;
  • good communications links are maintained with other relevant response teams;
  • the welfare and wellbeing of HAC staff is considered at all times;
  • health, safety and security are maintained; and
  • the needs of those affected are addressed as effectively as the situation allows.

 

Initial reception - Trained staff will record the details of all those attending the HAC for the first time. Each individual who is permitted access should be issued with an identity pass that should be displayed at all times.

Support teams - After reception, those affected will need to be guided through the various services offered by the HAC and provided with a longer-term point of contact for follow-up support. Support teams should be formed to fulfil this role.

Security - This will normally be carried out by the Police in the first instance. There must be clear, effective communication between security personnel and the initial reception.

Staff working at the HAC should be issued with identity passes and must be trained and exercised in their personal role and their part in the HAC activities. They should be briefed on beginning their shift with the latest situation report, updated information and other relevant matters.

 

Ground rules

The HAC specialist group should consider drawing up "ground rules" in respect of the use of the HAC by staff and visitors.

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