Friday, August 08, 2008

UK: National Risk Register Now Online


# 2219




The Cabinet Office of the UK has published their national risk register, as promised in this morning's papers.   Here is a representative sample of the reporting on this document's release.





Flu pandemic 'biggest threat to UK'


Last Modified: 08 Aug 2008
Source: PA News

A flu pandemic poses a greater threat to Britain than terrorism, an official Government risk assessment is warning.


The Cabinet Office is publishing a "risk register" which compares the impact of a range of incidents, plus new information on the chances that they might take place.


Some of the information has previously been kept secret.


But Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to make more details available to the public when he published the National Security Strategy in March.


The document is expected to look at risks over the next five years, and provide advice to families and organisations on what they can do to protect themselves.




The `advice' as to what families and organizations can do to protect themselves in this document appears fairly tepid.   


Here is their advice for a loss of utilities service (gas or electric).



Loss of Mains Electricity or Gas

4.8 Power cuts can affect household appliances, lighting, and other electronic equipment. Prolonged loss of electricity can also result in loss of mains water, sewerage and mobile communications.


Nationally, schools and offices may close temporarily unless they can find alternative power sources or may have to alter their hours to accommodate rota cuts. You may want to think about the following points to minimise disruption:


• If you have children, you may wish to discuss
back-up arrangements for childcare with neighbours/ friends in the event of schools being closed.


• Storing key contact details separately from your
mobile phone.


Creating a core stock of essential supplies.
This could include bottled water, a battery powered radio, torch, tinned food and alternative heating sources.



This is, however, the first time I've seen advice to families to stockpile water, food, and other essential supplies from the UK.   Quantities are not suggested, and it is buried pretty deep in this document, but at least it's there. 


Specific advice about human diseases, or a pandemic is generic at best, as illustrated by the following excerpt.




Human Diseases

4.14 People can adopt simple and basic hygiene measures to protect themselves against disease and to reduce the risk of spreading viruses. Measures may include:


• Staying at home when ill provided there is no need to go to hospital or visit a doctor. You may wish to contact NHS Direct or NHS 24 for further advice on what to do.


• Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.


• Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.


• Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water to reduce the spread of the virus from the hands to the face, or to other people, particularly after blowing the nose or disposing of tissues or coming in from outside.


• Regularly cleaning frequently touched hard surfaces, such as kitchen worktops and door handles.


4.15  In the event of a pandemic, the Government will provide clear and considered messages to the public to advise them on other required action.







Given that a pandemic is being heralded as being the biggest threat to the UK, you'd think there would be more than a `we'll get back to you later' message about pandemic preparedness here.



In fact, in Chapter Four: Considerations for Individuals, families and Communities -  this is the only occurrence of the word `pandemic' in that section of the document.






A hat tip to UK-Bird on the Wiki for quickly posting the link to this new document.





Last updated: 08/08/2008

National Risk Register


As announced in the National Security Strategy, the Government has published a National Risk Register which sets out our assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of different risks that may directly affect the UK.


The National Risk Register is designed to increase awareness of the kinds of risks the UK faces, and encourage individuals and organisations to think about their own preparedness. The register also includes details of what the Government and emergency services are doing to prepare for emergencies.


Please send any comments on what you did not and did find useful in the document to and we will consider them the document is updated.


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