Avon USAROrganisations from across the resilience community have debated how to best to bring together existing work at a two day conference on community resilience organised by Avon Fire & Rescue Service.

Speakers from organisations including the police, fire and rescue service, the Environment Agency, local authorities, community representatives and academics took part in the ‘Resilient Communities?’ conference. It included talks and workshops which explored what community resilience is and what it could be.

ACFO Rob Davis said: "As members of the emergency services we regularly come into contact with individuals or whole communities who have been affected by unexpected events. In many cases the long and short term impacts of an incident can be limited by effective preparation. Our aim is to explore working with communities to make them more resilient to future shocks and stresses."

The event, organised alongside the Schumacher Institute, offered attendees the chance to hear about real-life experiences, best practice and tools for community resilience. It also explored ways to successfully bring together existing work.

The working together theme was further exemplified when a group of paramedics from Eastern Europe saw how Avon handles road traffic collisions as part of their training to transfer to the UK.

The 17 transferees, from countries including Poland and the Czech Republic, have joined South Western Ambulance Foundation Trust and may find themselves working with AF&RS firefighters at incidents, including road traffic collisions.

Watch Manager Gareth Lloyd, who is the AF&RS Heavy Rescue Lead, said: "The two days were designed to help the group understand how the fire and rescue service works when dealing with a road traffic collision and to strengthen relationships.

"When all agencies arrive at a road traffic collision they want to ensure the best outcome. So ensuring we can work effectively and efficiently together is essential. Communication plays a key role in our response to road traffic collisions and it is vital that each agency knows how the others work."