Community Adviser LogoFollowing a Community Adviser instruction by National Government entitled: 'Background To War Emergency Planning, The Main Threat To peace', a local document followed, tailored to the requirements of the county of Cumbria.

A verbatim reproduction of this document: 'War Emergency Planning' is reproduced below. It was issued in January 1984 by Eden District Council, in East Cumbria.



Before attempting to offer our recipe for war emergency planning in the County, there might be merit in highlighting the major problems likely to arise in any situation after an attack, - and particularly after a nuclear strike. Those are:-

a. moderate to severe damage which, in the worst case, can result in a very high number of casualties and lead ultimately to the spread of disease, possibly of epidemic proportions; as well as the major disruption of communications and other essential services.

b. the conservation and distribution of food and fuel.

c. violence engendered, by fear, hunger, pain and desperation.

d. radiation (or chemical or biological) hazards, and

e. a major influx of refugees.

Some of you may know that the Government has delegated certain statutory responsibilities to local authorities, and these require them to prepare detailed, plans to mitigate the effects of any attack, increase our chances of survival, and facilitate a speedy return to some semblance of normality. We are reminded that hostilities may occur at very short notice; and plans should be sufficiently flexible to cater for any form of attack, and must be maintained at a high state of readiness. In practice, this means that plans should be constantly revised and updated, wartime staff trained and exorcised, and communications and other facilities must be fully functional at all times.

Transition to war measures are an essential part of these plans; and their implementation can be carefully regulated so that we can either speedily adopt an effective wartime posture, or just as quickly revert to a peacetime footing should the crises pass. Indeed, such is their importance, that a Home Office working group has been studying the feasibility of issuing a standard list of war preparatory measures for use nationwide, but which can be readily adapted to the specific needs of any county.

Of course, if wo are fortunate enough to receive adequate warning - thus enjoying an orderly transition from peace to war -this will undoubtedly help to minimise the effects of an attack. But if we are to increase our chances of surviving and recovering quickly, we must also plan to:-

a. receive and disseminate information on the result of any attack.

b. accommodate the Homeless,

c. feed the Hungry.

d. prevent the spread of disease, and dispose of the dead.

c. clear and repair damaged buildings and highways.

f. provide and maintain public services essential to community life.

In order to implement those plans, we must have an organisation capable of controlling and co-ordinating the use of the resources available to us.

Such an organisation - for County and District - is dealt with in Part I of our County War Book. This introduces the national system of decentralised wartime government, and outlines the County and District wartime control organisations shown at the Annex. It also indicates the anticipated sequence of local events and actions leading up to the outbreak of war, and gives general guidance to senior staffs to prepare them for their duties connected with their wartime appointments.

The organisation for each of our six Districts is very much a mirror image of the County's (sic), but they are tasked with translating the broad plan into action required to provide direct assistance to our communities. This action is described in detail in the Community Organisation Plan which is the first one in Part II of the War Book. We envisage a logical grouping of wards and parishes to facilitate arrangements within each District for such things as information and communications, food procurement and distribution, emergency feeding and housing, works services, health and hygiene etc. Each group of wards or parishes within a district will be controlled by a "desk" established for this purpose at District War Headquarters. We believe that such an organisation will enhance the chances of survival and progressive recovery at all community levels.

One of the most important plans in the War Book is that dealing with Training. This plan has been prepared in considerable detail to ensure that optimum use is made of peacetime training courses, seminars etc. These courses are held at the Home Defence College in Yorkshire and similar establishments elsewhere in the County for all these holding war appointments. It also includes arrangements for a crash training programme for additional wartime staffs; and this particular programme will undoubtedly be one of the more important preparation for war measures.

In the context of training, you may wish to note the progress we have made, and plan to make, in the training of nominated members of local government staffs and suitable volunteers from the general public. In recent years we have twice exercised our senior officers at County and Districts in manning and operating wartime services at the County Control in The Castle, Carlisle, and at two District War Headquarters. Additionally, after briefing the Elected Members and Parish Chairman of all districts, we embarked on this programme of training for Community Advisers in late 1979. This is an ongoing programme, and we plan to train about one in every hundred persons in the County to advise their fellow citizens on the best means of survival in a war environment. We are looking for volunteers, from all walks of life, whoso only qualifications need be commonsense, a strong will to survive in very adverse circumstances, and a sincere desire to help others. They should, of course, be mature, active, able, and willing to give up about two or three nights each month to the training sessions, and some of their spare time to duties connected with their appointment as Community Advisers.

Turning now to the content of the course, you have seen copies of the syllabus which we will use for our studies. These subjects cover those problems which were highlighted earlier as being those which any community will face in a major war environment. We have been able to examine these problems at national, county and district levels, and to make plans to deal with them: but you will appreciate the difficulties we would face in attempting to plan an organisation or make even outline arrangements for dealing with these problems at the level of the smaller communities, that is to say at parish or ward level and below. That is why we are convinced that our best course is the one we have now embarked upon, in which volunteers from each community discuss and examine each problem in the light of their detailed knowledge of their communities, so that the best possible use can be made of local resources - manpower and equipment - under the guidance of the Community Advisers.

Finally, what happens after our volunteers complete their studies? Do they just sit back and wait for war? In fact, our qualified Community Advisers now undertake advanced studies, programmed by my Training Officer, and run by the County's Scientific Advisers, WRVS, and British Red Cross Society. The current programme includes demonstrations and talks on the use of Radiac Instruments, Emergency Cooking Equipment, and Medicare. Additionally the best and most suitable of the trained Advisers have been selectee to form a District Training Team, and my own staff are available to assist them in preparing a syllabus of annual continuation training for use by that team. However, in all cases, Community Advisers will be required to record and plan the optimum use of the resources manpower and equipment, in their respective communities; and these detailed responsibilities will be discussed during the final session of the course.


It is against this broad background, outlining the need for war emergency planning, that we welcome your contribution. It will not be an easy task for any of us because, in at least one respect, we are unable to call on experience in a post nuclear strike environment to guide us in our discussions. But given certain broad parameters evolved from much study and research in many countries, we can examine each of the major problems in turn, and perhaps arrive at some compromise solution which might serve our community needs should the worst happen.

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." (Edmund Burke)

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