Exeter, Devon (UK), 18 May 2007
Today, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) launches its Emergency Planning Network, in Exeter-Devon-UK. This network will allow regions to learn from each other what to do – or what not to do! – in an emergency and to develop common action plans to respond to crises.
The 35 participants, representing 15 regions from 10 countries, defined the crucial questions the network will have to address:
– how can we make the latest know-how on different crisis situations (floods, fire, earthquakes, industrial accidents) available to all the regions?
– how can we create links between the regions’ resources (human, technical, infrastructure) and help them to create joint emergency action plans and coordinate their responses?
– how can regions learn from each other and improve their prevention and response action plans?
In order to facilitate exchange among the regions, the AER will develop interregional peer reviews on emergency planning.
Among the very concrete examples given by the participants, Richard Horne, Devon’s Emergency Planning Officer, outlined the reaction of the emergency services and local councils to the recent ‘Napoli’ incident off the East Devon coast, including the co-ordinated multi-agency response that successfully limited the pollution arising from that incident. In order to fully appreciate the impact of this maritime incident and the complicated response operations that have been mounted, the delegates will visit tomorrow the site of the MSC Napoli.
“Future conferences will be held in other parts of Europe and we aim to increase co-operation and exchange among all the AER partners for the mutual benefit of everybody concerned,” concluded Councillor John Smith, Devon County Council’s Deputy Leader and Leader of the AER Emergency Planning Network. “We are convinced that, together, we will find the most effective responses to emergencies!”
The seminar was also the opportunity for the Regions to meet potential partners and discuss the possibility of creating interregional cooperation projects, in particular in light of the upcoming Interreg IVC call later this year. The AER will organise a partnership fair in Strasbourg, on 14th June 2007, to help regions to prepare for this call.
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