Types of risk

Dorset is a safe county in which to live, work and visit.

Emergencies, such as those described on this website are rare. This page explains some types of emergencies that could occur, what the likelihood is of such an event ever happening and what the possible impact would be if it did.

Community Risk Register

Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the Dorset Local Resilience Forum is required to ensure that events or situations which threaten serious damage to the people of Dorset, or our environment, are identified, and where possible, controlled or mitigated against. The Dorset Community Risk Register is produced to assist in this process.

The Dorset Community Risk Register shows which risks have been identified to affect Dorset including the assessment of each risks impact and likelihood. The risks are presented in a matrix that allocates a risk rating according to government guidelines, it is a living document as the Dorset Local Resilience Forum members review and update the risks in accordance with the National Risk Assessments (document is not publicly available) produced biennially by the government.

The production of this document (see below) fulfills a legal obligation under the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004.

What is the Community Risk Register for?

The purpose of the Register is to:

  • Ensure that local responders have an accurate understanding of the risks they face and to provide a sound foundation for planning;
  • Provide a rational basis for prioritising objectives, work programmes and allocation of resources;
  • Enable local responders to assess the adequacy of their plans and identify any gaps;
  • Facilitate joined up planning, based on consistent planning assumptions;
  • Provide an accessible overview of emergency planning for the public and officials;
  • Inform and reflect on national and regional risk assessments that support emergency planning and capability development at those levels.


Severe weather »

Severe weather is not just rain or snow, it also includes storms, gale force winds, heatwave and dense fog - all can have a serious impact on our day to day life.

Low temperatures and heavy snow »

Not only does snow and ice make driving conditions hazardous but low temperatures can also affect more vulnerable people in our community.

Storms, gales and high waves »

Gale force winds or storms may cause loss of power, disruption to our transport network and damage to homes and businesses.

Heatwave »

Most of us enjoy sunny weather, but extreme heat can damage your health if precautions aren't taken.


Pandemic flu »

A pandemic occurs when a new Flu virus, which people have no immunity to, emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal Flu. Unlike seasonal flu, Pandemic Flu can affect anyone.

Infectious diseases »

We can help reduce the spread of these diseases very simply by good hygiene practices and ensuring we are aware of the Government and Health Authorities advice on prevention.

Animal diseases »

Animal diseases which are of most concern to us in Dorset are those which are highly contagious and cause high fatality rates amongst our livestock or may infect people.


Flooding »

Flooding can happen without warning and it occurs from a variety of different weather events. If you live in an area that has a risk of flooding, be prepared in advance.

Heathland and forest fires »

Dorset has many large areas of heathland and forests, which are vulnerable to wildfires. When they occur they can be very serious and affect large areas of our countryside.

Rockfalls and landslides »

Rock falls and landslides are naturally occurring events in Dorset especially along the Jurassic coastline. They can happen anytime of the year, often linked to severe rainfall.


Disruption to fuel supplies »

We all rely to some extent on fuel, whether it is for getting children to school, staff to work, distributing products or providing services. A shortage of fuel causes many problems.


Business Continuity »

What if you lost access to the building you operate from? You lost one, more, or all of your IT systems? Or, snow, flu, or a fuel shortage meant you have significantly less staff in? Business Continuity is about preparing for the outcomes of potential risks and planning how your organisation or business will ensure it can continue to function.


Cyber attacks »

The risk to information and computer assets comes from a broad spectrum of threats with a broad range of capabilities. A cyber attack is an attempt by hackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system.

Terrorism »

A terrorist attack in Dorset is highly unlikely. However we should not be complacent. Any county has a risk of attack from a lone individual or a group involved in terrorism.

More information about emergencies and risk

An emergency is an event that can:

  • Result in loss of life
  • Cause injury to people
  • Damage property and the environment
  • Disrupt daily living

For the purposes of the LRF, the type of large emergencies we plan for and respond to are usually defined as:

"A severe event or situation, with a range of significant impacts, which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder organisations."

The Dorset LRF has a legal duty under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to produce a Community Risk Register.

This is to identify the risks likely to occur in our area and to develop plans and responses to reduce these risks, as well as informing you, the public, that this work and activity is taking place. We share information about these risks on this website.

Even if the risks are very unlikely to happen, their potential impact could be high, which is why we are providing this information.

The LRF assesses the levels of risk for a range of potential hazards in Dorset. These can be wide ranging so a common approach is required. Our risk assessment examines the Likelihood of hazards occurring in the area and the Impact that they would have if they did. This results in the overall Risk Rating you see on each page.

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