Emergencies - evacuations

Evacuations can occur day or night and are usually done to preserve life. Fires, floods and industrial accidents can all cause evacuations.

The emergency services are responsible for deciding whether an evacuation is necessary, but it is the council’s duty to receive the evacuees who have been made unintentionally homeless for the period of the evacuation.

Leaving your home

When an evacuation occurs the emergency services will set up a cordon. A cordon is a controlled area which the emergency services set up for safety or to preserve evidence.

The emergency services will ask everyone within the cordon to leave until it is safe or suitable to return.

The emergency services have no legal duty to remove you from your home unless the cordon has been set up in relation to a terrorism incident, in which case section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2000 applies - 'A police constable in uniform may (a) order a person in a cordoned area to leave it immediately'.

If the incident is not related to terrorism then you are strongly advised to follow the instructions given by the emergency services at the time. If you are advised to leave the cordoned area it is likely that your safety may be compromised if you stay behind in your property.

If you leave the cordoned area then the police have powers to stop you re-entering the cordon even if your property is within the cordon area.

If you are asked to leave the cordoned area as an evacuee, then you are advised to take essential items such as medication with you only if you have time to gather them.

Where to go

You should stay with family and friends as nearby as possible until you are told it is safe to return. If you have no family and friends to go to, the council may establish a rest centre.

If a rest centre is established you will be informed of its location and may be asked to make your way to the centre. If it is some distance away transport may be provided.

In the rest centre you should expect basic sleeping and welfare provision.

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