Emergency advice

​As a local authority we have an important role to support the emergency services in the case of a major emergency within the borough. These emergencies can be natural disasters such as flooding, storms and pollution also other events such as major traffic accidents, unexploded bombs or acts of terrorism. Our role and responsibilities are outlined in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 where we are a category 1 responder.

  • Environment Agency Flood Alert


  • Air ambulance

    The North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) is one of the country's busiest air ambulances and continues to make a difference in the care of some of the region's most seriously injured or ill patients. Reliant on community based charitable donations, NWAA serves Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, dealing swiftly with time critical situations, accessing places land vehicles would not be able to and providing valuable paramedic support with its ability to transport patients quickly to hospital. NWAA staff now include paramedics from Cumbria and Greater Manchester Ambulance Services, further reinforcing our links with neighbouring services.

  • Business Continuity Advice

    We are committed to providing and maintaining high levels of service to our customers. In the event of a major incident at any of our offices the aim is to restore the highest possible levels of service in the shortest possible time. To this end we have developed comprehensive Business Continuity Plans covering all our services. The plans are reviewed and maintained regularly.

    In addition, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 gives us a duty to provide businesses and voluntary organisations with advice on Business Continuity Management, to help and assist local businesses to quickly recover from disruptions. Information from the Chartered Management Institute (2006) found that '80 per cent of businesses affected by a major incident either never re-open or close within 18 months'.

    We would like for local businesses to be resilient to the effects of major incidents or interruptions and believe that even the smallest of businesses can benefit from some form of Business Continuity planning. You can download our leaflet to find out more.

    To assist you in carrying out business continuity a template has been developed to help you cover the main areas.

    Useful Websites
    • Lancashire Resilience Forum - a key requirement of The Civil Contingencies Act 2004
    • Business Continuity Institute - established to give advice and guidance on Business Continuity Management issues
    • Continuity Forum- provides independent advice, information and support to the private and public sectors on BCM, disaster recovery, crisis management, emergency planning and security
    • UK Resilience - advice on how to help yourself and others in emergencies
    • London.gov.uk provide a quick assessment for you to see how far you have got with business continuity management. The assessment has been split into sections for ease of reference; ideally you should have all of these criteria fulfilled.

  • Floods, drains and gullies

    Flooded and waterlogged roads result when the amount of water on the road is greater than the capacity of the drainage system that takes it away. Exceptional rainfall, a road being in a low lying area, changes in 'run off' from adjacent fields and rivers overflowing are some situations that can lead to the road flooding or being waterlogged even when drains are in good working order. Surface water flooding is a natural occurrence and no drainage system or flood protection measures can give an absolute protection from all flooding events.

    Flood warnings
    Flood warnings are issued by the Environment Agency - you can view the latest flood warnings for the area and advice on what to do online.

    Who to contact
    Lancashire County Council, acting as the Highways Authority in Chorley has responsibility for the maintenance of roads, drains and gullies (excluding unadopted roads). If you are concerned about flooding to roads or believe that drains or gullies may need attention, you should contact Lancashire County Council. Flooding on private or unadopted roads should be reported to us. When there is flooding from a burst water main you will need to contact the water company. The water company is responsible for its supply up to and including the water stopcock so you will need to contact United Utilities. For flooding to properties we can provide advice.

    A small number of properties live in flood risk areas in Chorley but it is important to think about what preparations you can make to protect yourself. There is lots of information on help and advice about flooding. If you want assistance or advice in the event of a flood you need to establish what type of flooding it is.

    River and sea flooding
    The Environment Agency has an important role in warning people about the risk of flooding, and in reducing the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea. Their website has access to online tools such as flood maps and signing up to their early warning system.

    Flooding from watercourses
    Watercourses, other than main rivers, are the responsibility of riparian owners. Riparian owners have a duty to keep the watercourse clear of any obstruction to flow. If the riparian owner fails to meet their duty and there is a concern that the watercourse may cause flooding the council can serve legal notices on riparian owners to deal with obstructions. The Environment Agency offers more information on their website.

    Flooding from public sewers
    The water company own and manage the network of public foul and surface water sewers. The majority of public sewers are located in highways, however, a sewer under a highway is not automatically a public sewer. We have a copy of the sewer maps, which can be viewed at our offices. To report an overflowing public sewer, you should contact United Utilities.

    Flooding from private sewers or drains
    A drain is a pipe which only carries waste from your own property. A private sewer is a common pipe which has drains connecting to it. A private sewer will carry waste from your property but also waste from other neighbours. If your drain or the private sewer is overflowing you will need a drainage contractor to deal with any blockage. If a drain is blocked it is your responsibility (or the landlord if you rent your property) to unblock the drain. If a private sewer is blocked it is your responsibility (or the landlord if you rent your property) but also the responsibility of your neighbours which are affected by the blockage to have it unblocked. If you think that the main sewer is blocked then this is the responsibility of United Utilities and you would need to contact them.

    Flooding from a burst water main
    United Utilities are responsible for their supply up to and including the water stopcock.

    Flooding from a water service pipe or internal pipework
    This is the responsibility of the homeowner or landlord and would need the attention of a plumber.

    There's some advice available on how to use sandbags effectively.

    You can download our helpful leaflets:
    Flooding - What to do
    Flooding - the clean up

    If you have previously flooded or are living in a known flood risk area, you cannot stop flooding but you can stop the devastation to your home by being more prepared and installing flood prevention equipment. Details of suppliers can be found on the Environment Agency's website or in the Blues Pages Directory from the National Flood Forum.

  • Gas leaks

    If you can smell gas, think you have a gas leak or are worried about carbon monoxide fumes in your home, contact National Grid.

    What should I do if I suspect a gas leak?
    • Don't turn electrical items on or off
    • Don't switch lights on and off
    • Don't smoke or strike matches
    • Do turn off the gas supply
    • Do put out any naked flames
    • Do open doors and windows to ventilate the area
    Do keep people away from the affected area

  • Major accident hazards

    Local authorities like Chorley play a key role by preparing, reviewing, revising and testing off-site emergency plans for dealing with the consequences of major accidents. There are regulations to prevent and mitigate the effects on people and the environment of major incidents involving dangerous substances. These apply mainly to the chemical industry, but also to some storage activities, explosives and nuclear sites and other industries where quantities of dangerous substances are kept or used. These sites are not only required to submit a safety case and plan, but must also provide the local authority with information to enable it to produce an emergency response plan.

    The plans are reviewed and validated by regular exercises involving all relevant agencies. Through the Lancashire Resilience Forum all relevant agencies ensure plans are reviewed and validated by regular exercises, for further information visit their website.

  • Mountain rescue

    Volunteers from the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team cover the Chorley area of Lancashire in the event of this type of emergency.

    The groups exist to provide a voluntary search and rescue service for the West Pennine Moors, providing specialist cover when there is a problem locating victims or the terrain surrounding a casualty is difficult to access. The teams can often be spotted at orienteering events, fell races, sponsored walks and mountain bike races. They are often called in by the Police and Fire and Rescue services, assisting at high-line rescues and moorland fire fighting operations.

    Access the BMRT website and find out about volunteering or fund raising for this important service.

    There is also a Safe Rambling leaflet which gives advice for walkers.

  • Our role in emergencies

    We are the same as any other local authority and have a statutory responsibility to respond to a major emergency. These responsibilities are shared between the other members of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, the main roles are:
    • Support the emergency services
    • Assistance to people in distress
    • Co-ordination of activities of the various elements local authorities and other agencies
    • Consultation with the police, release of information to the media and advice to the public
    • Maintenance and restoration of local authority services

    In order to carry out this role it is necessary for us to have a prepared emergency plan.

  • Preparing for emergencies

    It is vital to be prepared for an emergency. We have compiled a list of websites and contact numbers that would provide useful information and guidance in an emergency.

    Where do I start?
    The Government's UK Resilience website is a great source of information and ideas for residents, businesses and local organisations. It also has information about specific threats that might concern you and what you can do to be prepared.

    Emergency advice and guidance on how to deal with disasters:
    • The Environment Agency deals with emergencies such as flooding
    • The Met Office offers news and information about weather issues and news of extreme weather
    • UK Resilience supports the work of people trying to make sure we're prepared for any type of civil emergency
    • For threats to and emergencies involving health try the Department of Health site
    • For latest news in an emergency try the BBC's Lancashire site. Any Chorley based emergencies being handled by us will also appear on our homepage
    • Members of the Lancashire Resilience Forum will find its website useful

    The Government has a comprehensive programme of work to ensure an effective response to a range of disruptive emergencies that might affect the UK, and is working to reduce the risk from emergencies to ensure the country is as prepared as it can be.

    Useful numbers in an emergency
    We've tried to think of everyone you might need to contact and provide numbers and websites here. Dial 999 or 112 for Fire, Police, Ambulance and Mountain Rescue free from any telephone.

    What to do when reporting an emergency:
    1. Remain Calm
    2. Speak Clearly
    3. Tell the operator which service you require
    4. Tell the Emergency Service where the trouble is, what the trouble is and where you are

    Do not hang up until the operator tells you to do so. If there is a medical emergency, you may be given medical instructions that can help the patient. If you accidentally dial 999...STAY ON THE LINE and tell the operator what happened. Emergency operators treat unknown 999 calls as potential emergencies in progress requiring immediate response. Please be sure that everyone in your home knows how to dial 999 - to report an emergency and be sure all children know that they should not dial 999 as a joke.

    Other organisations you may need to contact in an emergency:
    • Lancashire Fire Service
    • Lancashire Police
    • North West Ambulance Service
    • Lancashire County Council
    • Chorley & South Ribble District General Hospital
    • National Grid (gas)
    • United Utilities
    • British Telecom

  • Radiation

    Incidents involving radiation are extremely rare, but there is lots of information out there about the topic and what to do if you're affected.

    These include:
    • The Health and Safety Executive
    • The Health Protection Agency, radiation division
    • The Radiation website also gives links to useful radiation safety references and websites

  • Severe weather warnings

    Severe weather warnings in the UK - such as high winds or snowfall - are issued by the Met Office. If you want information on what you need to do in the event of severe weather then the Met Office also provides this information on their website.

    There is also a need to consider the effects of hot weather, the heat can affect anyone but there are certain groups who may be at greater risk, these are:
    • Older people
    • Babies and young children
    • People with serious mental health problems
    • People on certain medication
    • People with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
    • People who already have a high temperature from an infection
    • People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
    • People with mobility problems
    • People who are physically active, like manual workers and sportsmen and women

    For information the Department for Health has a leaflet available to download. The Met Office website also provides information when the temperatures rise, a Heat-Health Watch system operates in England and Wales from June 1 to September 15 each year. The Heat-Health Watch system comprises four levels of response based upon threshold maximum daytime and minimum night-time temperatures. These thresholds vary by region, but an average threshold temperature is 30 °C by day and 15 °C overnight.

  • Social and psychological support

    In the aftermath of a major incident many people will be affected. They may be survivors of the incident, relatives of these survivors or relatives of those who die as a result of the incident. They may be affected simply by being involved in the response. Some of these people will need trauma support in the immediate aftermath of such an incident but in a short time they will have recovered sufficiently to readjust to some sort of normality. Some, however, will need a higher level of trauma support for some time after the incident and a few will continue to need this support over many years.

    We would work with a number of organisations including the Police, Fire, Lancashire County Council and local NHS and PCT to provide a range of social and psychological support services in the aftermath of a major incident affecting residents or visitors. We work closely with voluntary and statutory agencies, so that the services they provide are complementary to those already available.
    They offer:
    • Immediate practical support
    • Emotional support
    • Telephone support and incident helpline
    • Friends and relative reception centre support
    • Support to Police Casualty Bureau
    • Temporary mortuary duty
    • Media Interest support
    • Other post-incident support to victims and relatives
    • Planning, tracking and reporting
    • Support to social care staff

  • Winter weather

    We've put together some useful information to keep you warm and well during the cold weather. The best way to get through winter is to keep warm and to follow a healthy lifestyle.

    Latest weather
    You can find details of the weather online using the Met Office's website.

    School closures
    You can find out about school closures in severe weather on Lancashire County Council's website.

    Before the onset of cold weather
    • Check that your home is adequately insured and that everything that you want to be covered is covered
    • Make sure your property is in good order
    • Learn how and where to turn off your water, electricity and gas supplies
    • Collect and maintain an emergency pack
    • The Met Office has some advice on getting ready for winter

    Home emergency pack
    Our suggestion is to try and keep enough of the following in your house to last all of you at least two days:
    • Lighting (torch/candles) and spare source of power (batteries etc.)
    • Cooking equipment (including tin-opener, utensils and cutlery)
    • Drink (cans of juice, bottled water etc.)
    • Long life food, (check use-by date and refresh supplies regularly)
    • Portable radio and spare batteries
    • Blankets
    • Dry clothing
    • Medication (including baby items)

    What should I do if the weather conditions deteriorate?
    • Check the TV (news), radio and newspapers for the latest information and early warnings
    • Stock up on essentials such as the suggested Emergency Pack above. Make essential journeys only
    • If you must travel, make sure that you are fully prepared for all events and conditions
    • Obtain a weather forecast and if possible determine the road conditions for the journey you are going to take
    • Offer assistance to less able neighbours
    • Wrap up warm in several thin layers
    • Conserve energy by using one room and maintaining its temperature at 15º/20º Celsius (60º/70º Fahrenheit)
    • Have at least one hot meal a day
    • Fill some clean containers with fresh water in case supply fails

    Protect your home in winter
    United Utilities have published an information leaflet on keeping the water flowing at your home despite freezing conditions.

    Driving in freezing conditions
    Winter weather can be extremely hazardous for people using the borough's roads. In Chorley, Lancashire County Council is responsible for maintaining and managing the highway network. The Highways Agency has more advice to offer on driving in winter conditions.

    Cold Weather Payments 
    These are issued during periods of very cold weather to help towards heating costs. A set amount is automatically paid to any eligible person each week of very cold weather.

    Winter Fuel Payments
    These are intended to help towards the costs of extra heating, used during the winter to keep warm. An annual payment is made to eligible people. Most payments are made automatically but some people may need to claim them. The Department for Work and Pensions has more information and advice on this and cold weather payments. 

    Further help and advice
    The Department of Health issues advice in it's 'Keep Warm – Keep Well' website which includes how to keep warm, contacts for key organisations offering practical solutions, financial assistance and safety advice. You can also download 'Keep Warm - Keep Well' booklets for families, people over 60 and people with disabilities or long term health conditions.