Friday, 5 June 2009

Anticipating disaster

There are people who have to think through the worst possible scenarios (however remote) so that we can be ready for anything. I’ve tripped over them twice this week.

First, those involved with the Lincolnshire Emergency Planners have been putting out feelers to the Humber area about its planning and to all the Rural Deans about renewing the briefings for clergy. All I seem to remember from previous briefings is the request that we stay at home and wait to be ‘deployed’ by the Archdeacon rather than run around contributing to the chaos but thinking we’re doing good.

I’m not sure how that would work in practice, and recently read the blog of our former Archdeacon whose parish had included the Hillsborough Stadium at the time of the disaster there and who seemed to have done the right thing by moving up to the local hospital.

Secondly, those involved in managing the local Crematorium have been inviting me to meetings with local Funeral Directors to be sure that we have the capacity and level of cooperation which would be necessary if we were to be faced with a sudden high mortality rate from a pandemic; they are equipped with guidance from central Government where the implications of extreme eventualities have been carefully tabulated. We trust that this will all remain simply an intriguing intellectual exercise.

From our point of view it turns out that the ‘disposal’ capacity of the local Crematorium and cemetery is far greater than the capacity of the Chapels there to host appropriate dignified Funerals, and I’ve already made informal contact with the nearest churches which might be asked to provide additional venues in these very unlikely circumstances. One of the other implications is that the workforce (whether cemetery staff or clergy) would be just as likely to be hit by absence from work to look after children when schools are closed, illness or deaths, so capacity planning has to assume that we’d only have half of it available.

I took the opportunity of being in the Council Chamber in the Town Hall for yesterday’s meeting to take some photographs including this one of a radiator grill.

1 comment:

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Very interesting, Peter. Certainly in the South it has been said that one of the bits of the various emergency planning schedules around which needs a bit more development is to get undertakers and others lined up to increase this capacity. Its rather like the secret plans they had in the fifties and sixties for a nuclear war. We must go with the family to the secret nuclear bunker sometime, now it's a tourist attraction...