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THE UK’s leading representative body for resilience professionals has today called on the country’s leaders to fully use the expertise of “emergency planners” in their response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis – and beyond.

The EPS is the UK’s leading professional body for all those involved in any form of resilience, emergency planning and crisis and disaster management and represents members from local government, emergency services, academia, commercial organisations, the voluntary sector and others.

The organisation has called on the Governments of all UK nations to fully utilise the expertise and experience of its emergency planning professionals to help further develop its ongoing response to COVID-19.

To date, the Society says, emergency planners have not been involved by Government at the very highest levels of planning in the way colleagues in medicine or epidemiology have been. So far, it would seem committees such as the scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE) do not appear to include any independent advisers on emergency planning and management.

The Society’s call follows the publication of a piece by David Alexander, Professor of Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London in the Guardian earlier this week.

Professor Alexander’s article notes that the coronavirus emergency is not just a medical and epidemiological problem and that “emergency planners will be needed to identify and meet the novel challenges that coronavirus presents, both now and in the future. Never have they been needed more on critical advisory committees.”

EPS Chair Jacqui Semple said: “It was very interesting to read Professor Alexander’s article and it raised a number of stimulating points from the perspective of those working in emergency planning. We, as a Society representing professionals working day-to-day in the field, wholeheartedly agree that input from the right people in our profession is essential and not only from an academic perspective.

“The people working on the ground are those who have the real-life experience, those who are qualified, skilled, knowledgeable and able to advise on dealing with emergencies; any emergency.

“The expertise of these emergency planning professionals has perhaps not been as to the fore as it should have been given all the other experts who are inputting at the very highest of levels.

“The complexities of dealing with a pandemic, its impact and consequences are at the very heart of what we do. It appears there has been a lack of emergency planning at the right tables to influence and support the response. What we want to say to the Government is this – we are here.

“Working together is vital and it is time to bring into the equation the people who are qualified, experienced and able to advise on dealing with emergencies.

“As a profession, we have an abundance of talent and expertise across the UK. If you apply the best people to the problem, then you get the best outcomes. We are calling today on the Governments of all four nations to use the expertise they have at their fingertips. We, as a profession, are ready and able to help.

“It is important too that as we move forwards as a profession that we create and harness a lasting legacy. We all want the same thing – to keep our country and its people safe.”

Professor Alexander’s piece can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/05/britain-emergency-planners-pandemic-government