Learning from emergencies

Once an emergency is over, it is important that all those involved in the response and recovery have the opportunity to debrief what happened. Initially, individual agencies will debrief their own staff and follow up on any immediate safety, welfare and evidential concerns.

From these single agency debriefs, questions often arise as to why another organisation did or didn’t do something that they may or may not have been expected to do. In these instances, a multi-agency debrief, facilitated by the Dorset Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU), will be convened to understand why a particular course of action was or wasn’t taken.

The expectation is that all large scale multi-agency exercises, all incidents in which formal multi-agency structures are established, and for any multi-agency incident where a partner requests one, a debrief will be held within six weeks.

Where lessons are identified, to improve future joint working or to enhance resilience, these will be captured in the form of recommendations, with a named action owner and realistic timescales for implementation.

These recommendations will then be added to the Dorset LRF Recommendations Tracker, which is owned by the Training and Exercising Group, who are responsible for holding the action owners to account for delivery.

The debrief process will be agreed by all those involved and, where appropriate, the Dorset CCU will identify an independent chair to run the event and will produce in advance aids, such as a timeline of events, to assist understanding.

The purpose of any final report will be to record the following:

  • an explanation of what partners thought would happen / what had been planned for
  • an explanation of what actually happened
  • and finally an explanation of the difference and any learning. The final debrief report will be presented to the Dorset LRF Business Management Group for their approval.