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November 2017

Delivering Care for People Activities over time

Delivering Care for People Activities over time

As part of the planning process Care for People Teams should exercise and prepare for activations.

As part of the preparation process Care for People Teams should consider the diverse and complex needs of individuals and communities affected by emergencies. As the needs are influenced by a variety of factors and may change over time planning should be based on the PFA step change model and incorporated the stages and timeframe in table below.






First few hours

This may be sudden and unexpected (e.g. transport incident, terrorist attack) or slower and predicted (e.g. severe weather/flooding). This phase is likely to be characterised by intensive activity to resolve the most damaging immediate impacts. It may be chaotic and traumatising for those affected.

Short Term

Following hours and first few days

It is likely that action will have been taken to stop or mitigate the most severe impacts of the incident. Response activity may be well organised and prioritised at this point, but may still be intensive.

Medium Term

First few weeks and months

This phase is characterised by the shift from response to recovery, clean-up and establishing interim solutions to issues caused by the incident (e.g. temporary accommodation for people evacuated, temporary transport solutions etc).

Longer Term

Following months and years

Longer term recovery activity (for example, psychosocial support, remembrance, financial and legal support).

Table 11


Care for People Activities to Prepare for an Activation

The aim of the Care for People Team is to prepare effective management arrangements to coordinate the activities of all responders to care for people by:

  • providing for the welfare and wellbeing of those affected by emergencies;
  • reducing to a minimum the harmful effects of any emergency on individuals and communities;
  • contributing support for their recovery; and
  • being ready to respond at all times.


Tasks and activities that the Team should consider when preparing to care for people during emergencies include:

  • identify recruit and train managers and staff to care for people following an emergency;
  • clarify leadership in preparation and response;
  • clarify information-sharing protocols in advance so that there are no barriers to the provision of support to people affected by emergencies;
  • agree recording systems to identify/contact those made vulnerable by the emergency;
  • engage community groups to promote local response;
  • plan, support and deliver regular training and exercising.


Spontaneous volunteering and donations can be helpful but how it can be managed and co-ordinated should be considered as part of the planning process. Responders should make plans for how to communicate with the public about what sort of help is needed, and how it will be coordinated.


Training and Exercising

It is recommended that the multi-agency training programme should include explicit arrangements for the testing and rehearsing of the psychosocial and mental health components of the emergency plans.

The Preparing Scottish Exercise Guidance is a useful resource to help plan for an exercise.

All agencies should ensure that their staff receive appropriate training in the psychosocial aspects of emergencies. This should include emergency service staff, those working in local authorities (particularly welfare and social care) and health services (particularly general practitioners). Where third sector organisations are involved in a response or care provision, consideration should be given to the benefits of joint training with statutory providers. Training should be developed in conjunction with specialists in psychosocial and mental health care and should include:

  • the principles of psychosocial care and PFA;
  • the psychosocial and mental health effects of emergencies on people of all ages;
  • awareness of possible longer term consequences;
  • awareness of referral pathways for people who need more specialised care;
  • self-care for staff.


Agencies should identify in advance those people within their organisations with appropriate skills who could contribute to the psychosocial care response. Staff identified to work within any centre should be provided with appropriate training to undertake their designated duties. This includes both single and multi-agency training and exercising as appropriate. Training in Psychological First Aid will be beneficial and is available through the Scottish Resilience Development Service (ScoRDS) website.


Staff Welfare

Wellbeing and support for response staff is vitally important for all staff and volunteers responding to emergencies. Each organisation has a duty of care to its staff. Demonstrating that staff are valued and cared for can boost morale in the darkest hours of response. Staff may be called upon to undertake some particularly harrowing and distressing tasks in a stressful and demanding environment. The effects on individuals can vary and there is a good deal of research and advice available for professionals. Most large organisations will have arrangements in place to support staff and these will have increased salience in emergencies.

In caring for staff, resilience partners will consider:

  • physical needs including: accommodation, catering, refreshment;
  • stress management including: rotas, rest periods;
  • personal support including: debriefing, access to support, monitoring; and
  • stand-down and return to normal work.


The Team will be involved in providing personal support and should ensure that its work is integrated with other aspects of staff welfare. There are some elements of staff support that might be assisted if those responsible for staff care within their organisations were engaged with the Team to:

  • share their experiences;
  • ensure that there are no gaps in provision;
  • provide an independent and discreet support service;
  • ensure that those working outside their normal support mechanisms are not overlooked;
  • provide for those who are not part of a formal support structure for emergency response (contractors, volunteers, etc.) and
  • coordinate assistance for its partners if required.


The Care for People Team also has a responsibility to its members to ensure that their welfare is protected when they are working remotely from their normal place of work and support networks.


1Human Aspects in Emergency Management: Guidance on supporting individuals affected by emergencies p.7


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