Following the recent Speedwell fire, where over 90 properties were evacuated, the council wants to see more private buildings registered as Community Places of Safety.
The Community Places of Safety scheme offers residents a safe place to go in the event of an evacuation following an emergency situation like a severe fire, flood or a gas leak.
The scheme was launched in 2016 and has over 200 venues across Bristol and includes places of worship, community halls and cafés. However, the council is looking to sign up more venues to make sure that there are a network of safe spaces all across the city.
During an emergency, if an evacuation is required, these locations will be staffed by trained volunteers and will be a place of shelter for members of the local communities.
Following the recent fire in Foundry Lane, Speedwell, local residents were evacuated from their homes and offered shelter at St John’s Church on Lodge Causeway. It was staffed by trained volunteers from the council with support from the Avon Community Resilience Team.
On this occasion, most residents found somewhere else to stay with family and friends, but those who couldn’t were able to wait at the Place of Safety until alternative overnight accommodation was found by the council.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “When catastrophic and emergency situations happen they can cause devastation for communities and businesses. Community Places of Safety are about giving those people a place to shelter if the worst comes to the worst and they need to be evacuated from their homes.
“They are a great example of the excellent work that can be done when we work together with our emergency responders to try and reach a shared goal to benefit the people of Bristol.”
Community resilience is about enabling residents to use local resources and knowledge to help each other in a way that complements the work of the local emergency responders. By working together and using local knowledge, communities will be better prepared to cope both during and after an emergency.
In the event of an emergency evacuation, the scheme will be activated once a phone call has been made to the council’s 24-hour operations room. An appropriate venue will be chosen and council staff will be sent out to support evacuees.
If you have a venue that might be suitable to be used as a Community Place of Safety, please contact the council’s Civil Protection Unit via email@example.com