Team busy preparing for disaster scenario to hit the Isles of Scilly
COUNCILLORS on the Isles of Scilly have been making preparations which will help residents should the islands ever be caught in a disaster.
The general purposes committee of the tiny, cash- strapped Isles of Scilly Council has been considering civil defence measures statutorily required under the Civil Contingencies Act.
The type and scale of disaster the island authority's resilience department is looking to counter are likely to be of a more modest severity than a rise in sea levels, although the council has bitter memories of having to foot the bill for clear-up work in the wake of the 1997 wreck of the container ship Cita.
Various locations are being earmarked for use as an evacuation briefing centre, an evacuation assembly point, a survivor reception centre and a humanitarian assistance centre.
On St Mary's the newly built sports hall at Carn Gwaval heads the list followed by the airport, Town Hall, church and chapel halls, children's centre Carn Thomas, Mundesley Hostel, Scillonian Club, Cadet Hut Five Islands School, Masonic Hall and golf club.
It is estimated the sports hall would seat 300 and sleep 150, the Town Hall 180 and 50. The report talks of a crisis management team.
The off-island centres are the community centres of Bryher and Tresco, St Martin's Reading Room and while the Island Hall has been earmarked on St Agnes Councillor Richard McCarthy hinted it would not be of much use presently "as it's a building site".
Mr McCarthy said that the "informal verbal" agreement with the ShelterBox charity in the event of difficulty should become more formal. Communities officer Penny Pen Howard agreed: "It would be prudent to get some clarity on that matter."
Each centre is given a designated contact person. They would sleep people (2m by 3m allowed), contain a room for nursing mothers, first aid points and DVDs, TV, books and games.
There would be designated smoking areas "where possible". Categories such as quiet rooms and prayer rooms have yet to be addressed.
Attention to individual human rights is stressed – eg, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion and belief.
As always local provision is regarded as something of a holding exercise until outside aid finds its way on to the islands.