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Published : 16/11/2012 00:00

Helping Leeds city centre businesses plan for emergencies

Businesses throughout Leeds city centre are being encouraged to sign up to a new free emergency alert system to make sure the city is prepared for emergencies.

Leeds Alert has been in place for several years but the new free system will mean more businesses are able to benefit from this important service.

At a meeting with around 70 city centre businesses next week, Leeds City Council  and West Yorkshire Police will launch the updated scheme which transmits important messages in the event of things like flooding, gas explosions, severe weather, demonstrations or anything that may disrupt ‘business as usual’.

Media opportunity:
When: Wednesday 21 November at 9am
Where: Banqueting Suite, Leeds Civic Hall
Members of the media are invited to attend the meeting to hear about the new Leeds Alert and Evacuation Plan. Copies of the new plan will be available. Interviews and photography is welcome.

The updated scheme allows city centre businesses to register up to four names and contact details free of charge. Alert messages are received by subscribers via a variety of methods including SMS texts to their mobile phones or by email.

Businesses who attend the meeting will also learn about the revised City Centre Evacuation Plan which has been drawn up by the council’s peace and emergency planning unit, alongside West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The evacuation plan is designed to give practical advice to assist city centre businesses to protect their premises, themselves and ultimately the people of Leeds in the event of an emergency. Businesses are encouraged the use the plan to help them prepare contingency plans for a city centre emergency. Elements of the plan go further than evacuation alone, several elements of the plan are used frequently for communicating severe weather, demonstrations and disruption.

Councillor Keith Wakefield leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Leeds Alert has been in place for several years now and has already proved itself as an excellent incident management tool in helping us to warn and inform organisations within the city.

“This new, free, service will mean we are able to assist more businesses in any way we can to increase their resilience, especially small and medium sized businesses.

“We have always taken our responsibility seriously to plan and prepare for incidents that impact on local people and businesses.

“Hopefully we will never have to activate the City Centre Evacuation Plan in full, but I am confident that the information and guidance it contains and the planned multi-agency response will make the city a more resilient place.”

Businesses wishing to attend the launch can register their details by email to BCP@leeds.gov.uk or they can visit www.leeds.gov.uk/prepared for more information and  to register for the Leeds Alert Scheme.

Notes:
There is no change for those residents and businesses who are signed up to the Flood Warning Direct service from the Environment Agency. The Leeds Alert service provides additional information.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk