Council gears up to tackle winter weather

Storms such as those which devastated much of Argyll and Bute in early January should have less impact in future, councillors said this week as Scotland was lashed by the first storms of the autumn.

‘Much better’ community resilience’ is being planned for the area this winter – the January 3 storms saw power cuts, road closed and both landline and mobile phone networks out of action for prolong periods.

The council itself was unable to update its website or Twitter feed to advise the public during the high winds, but says it is working hard to improve its own organisational resilience as well as community resilience.

Improvements are being made to council buildings, communications and IT including hiring more back-up generators in case of power loss and usinga satellite phone trailer from the Scottish Government which can be towed to any location.

The council will also be taking part in the Scottish Government’s ‘Ready for winter’ campaign which will focus on individual resilience in an emergency situation.

The council meeting last week heard that handbooks are being distributed to all community councils in Argyll and Bute to encourage them to prepare an emergency plan.

This includes details about people’s roles and responsibilities, public safety information and key risks affecting the area. Each community council is being asked to consider what they can do in the event of an emergency or incident in their community.

The handbook has been prepared by the council, Strathclyde Police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, NHS Highland, HM Coastguard, Argyll Voluntary Action , Red Cross, WRVS , Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Power.

Council leader Roddy McCuish said: “It’s vitally important we get our own organisational resilience right and communities do the same. This is crucial in Argyll and Bute where we have a number of remote and rural communities and a high proportion of elderly residents.”