Council Opens New Emergency Control Centre
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has officially opened its new Emergency Control Centre, to be used in the event of major incidents which affect the County Borough and the safety of its residents.
The facility, in a central location, is in addition to the Council’s 24/7 out-of-hours contact centre and is designed to allow the Council to manage a major incident at a ‘Strategic Level.’
It is divorced from the operational side of any response but will allow for contact to be maintained with key individuals and is designed for managers to have access to as much accurate information as quickly as possible to support the critical decision-making process.
The RCT Emergency Control Centre consists of one main room to encompass incident managers (including partner agencies) and support staff, as well as two break-out rooms.
During 2020, the Council faced one of the most challenging times in its history, first with tackling severe flooding across the area, affecting thousands of properties including business premises and family homes. River levels were also at their highest levels breaking records going back over 40 years.
This was followed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which continues to affect everyone and everything that we do on a daily basis. The virus has tragically claimed thousands of lives and damaged the health of thousands more.
Through all of this, staff at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have been working around the clock, seven days a week. Hundreds of members of staff have also been redeployed to other service areas in which they are needed – from assisting care staff, the Test Trace Protect service, Mass Testing, food deliveries and so much more.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “This has been the most challenging year ever for our Local Authority, but our staff have responded remarkably, and continue to do so to this day.
“In the run up to any major incident such as a major storm, or the outbreak of any incident needing a multi-agency response in the future, the Council’s new Emergency Control Centre will enable senior officers and partner agencies to be at one central location, collating all of the information coming in, dissecting that information and reacting at rapid speed to any major incident as it develops.
“We made an absolute commitment to review how the Council planned and responded to Storm Dennis to improve for such major incidents. In addition to the dozens of capital schemes underway across the County to upgrade culverts, with many more planned over the next 12 months, it’s important that - at a strategic level - we also improve and prepare better for such a major event, should it happen again.”
During any emergency incident, command teams are quickly established at three levels, Strategic, Tactical and Operational. These teams co-ordinate the whole operation, from start to finish, in critical detail and with immense professionalism.
These operations are now going to be undertaken by senior Council officers, in association with representatives from partner agencies, from the new RCT Emergency Control Centre. The high-tech control room is fitted out with all the surveillance and monitoring facilities needed to manage critical incidents at the highest level. The site also benefits from a back-up generator, which is able to operate during total power loss.
It has direct dial capability to the Council’s Dinas and Abercynon highways depots as well as access to the County’s CCTV system and both video and telephone conference call capability. The main display screen, as well as being used as a computer and for conference calls, can also show images from the Council’s widespread CCTV system and telemetry systems as well as camera images from key culverts that can be monitored remotely.
The room also has a 55-inch touchscreen, which is linked to a computer system, allowing maps and map overlays to be viewed in great detail. In order to support multi-agency working during any major incident, the facility also has Wi-Fi capability.