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Coronavirus pandemic declared ‘Major Incident’ in West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire Prepared, the region’s Local Resilience Forum (LRF), is today declaring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a ‘Major Incident’.

The LRF involves numerous agencies and organisations across the region, including the emergency services, NHS and local authorities, working collaboratively to deliver a safe and coordinated response for West Yorkshire.

The co-chairs of West Yorkshire Prepared, the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council, Robin Tuddenham, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman of West Yorkshire Police, and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service want to reassure members of the public of our commitment to prepare for, adapt and respond to the ongoing threat from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, we have authority to call a major incident across West Yorkshire. We are taking this action for the first time, as this pandemic affects all of us. We are now no longer in a business as usual position across Councils, the NHS, the Police, Fire Service and all our partners. We are intensively preparing for this incident given the risk of impact to public health, the disruption already being experienced to our lives, and the unprecedented demands being placed on our organisations resources and staffing capacity.

Robin Tuddenham said: “It is important to stress the declaration of this major incident does not fundamentally change anything we are already doing. However, the declaration recognises the gravity of the current situation and allows us and our partners to respond accordingly. We feel this is an appropriate escalation, reflecting on the changing situation and growing evidence of the impact we are at risk of experiencing.

“We are following the Government’s strategy and national guidance and would ask the public to please adhere to the guidance for everyone on social distancing, and staying at home where appropriate as stated by the Chief Medical Officer.”

DCFO Dave Walton added: “As an LRF it is our job to recognise, rehearse and prepare for all kinds of civil emergencies, from flooding through to pandemics. We have robust and well-rehearsed plans in place to deal with and respond to the current situation, but at the same time we recognise this is an unusual and dynamic situation. We are working closely with our partners to adapt our response as and when required.”

ACC Tim Kingsman said: “We are asking people to please help us to mitigate the effects of the pandemic by considering their role in assisting with the response and recovery; particularly in following the advice of the Government and trusted authorities but also in supporting and helping others in the community where reasonable and possible.”

West Yorkshire Prepared has a duty to provide regular and factual information to the public and business communities on dealing with emergencies. We would urge you to follow Government advice on social distancing, staying at home where appropriate, and hand washing. We would also ask you to look after your wellbeing, to not panic buy food, and express your care and help build resilience through kindness to others, always within the context of advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

We would advise everyone to keep up to date with the latest on social media, either by following your local authority’s messaging service/social media or via West Yorkshire Prepared directly – Twitter: @WYRForum; Facebook: @WYPrepared.

For more information, contact West Yorkshire Prepared at wyrf@westyorkshire.police.uk.

For advice from Government please go to https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

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