Villages bring back Cold War role

VILLAGES in Suffolk may appoint their own emergency co-ordinators for the first time since the Cold War era.Long power cuts as a result of gale-force winds during the past winter caused hardship for many people, including the old and vulnerable, and has prompted a re-think.

VILLAGES in Suffolk may appoint their own emergency co-ordinators for the first time since the Cold War era.

Long power cuts as a result of gale-force winds during the past winter caused hardship for many people, including the old and vulnerable, and has prompted a re-think.

The role of running a system of village emergency co-ordinators could be taken on by the Suffolk Association of Local Councils.

One village, Mellis, near Eye, has already appointed its own co-ordinator, reviving a post which was allowed to lapse many years ago.


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During the years of the Cold War - the stand-off between the West and the East - parish councils were encouraged by the Government to set up emergency systems to deal with local crises.

Although a military attack was a possibility, the parish emergency advisers were also trained to help deal with the aftermath of an aircraft crash or any other civil emergency.

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Funding for the annual training was provided by the Government but, as a result of the thawing of East-West relations, less money began to be made available.

Now, following the prolonged power cuts of the past winter, the Suffolk Association of Local Council is considering whether it can co-ordinate a new system of parish emergency advisers.

Arlene Cruickshanks, chairman of its executive committee, said the idea had already been discussed as a result of a meeting involving the 24seven electricity company and county emergency planning officer, Jeff Stacey.

"During this winter's power cuts people, some of them very vulnerable, were left for days without heating or hot food.

"The role of the parish emergency adviser would be to maintain a list of people who might need help and a list of services which might be needed," she said.

Mrs Cruickshanks, whose husband, Ron, was once emergency adviser in their home village of Onehouse, near Stowmarket, said the revival of the former system could play a valuable role in helping local people - including those living in isolated locations - to cope in emergency situations.

Philip Freeman has volunteered to become emergency co-ordinator in the village of Mellis and is now looking for a team of volunteers who could help during future emergencies.

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