"The unusual thing about the environmental health profession is that we have access to such a broad network of expertise."
Steve Miller. September 2009.
Scientific & Technical Advice Cell
The Association of London Environmental Health Managers intervention resulted in the development of effective and workable arrangements to provide emergency services with scientific and technical advice during major incidents or emergencies.
The scheme is a clear example of how ALEHM is helping to protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners.
Single source of advice
The effective provision of scientific advice during major incidents.
The provision of local knowledge, data and easier access to records needed during a major incident.
Consensus on remediation
Pool available information to reach a common view on options for, and the merits of of, different remedial actions.
Vigilance for London
The Buncefield oil depot fire in 2005 drew attention to the need for a stronger network of technical support in an emergency. Recognising that most emergency incidents impact on the environment and on health, the London Fire Brigade, approached the Association of London Environmental Health Managers for help.
After considerable work between ALEHM and LFB, arrangements were agreed to better support the emergency Science and Technical Advice Cells (STAC) that are activated during major incidents. This was further reinforced by the provision of training of Environmental Health Practitioners that have investigative skills; experience of communication with a wide audience; project management skills; and familiarity with risk assessment in a variety of scenarios.
What we did
The Association of London Environmental Health Managers helped the LFB to better navigate with different stakeholders to explore potential mechanisms to support emergency services during emergencies and major incidents. We helped to determine that the role potentially required:
investigation of infectious diseases;
knowledge of local arrangements and systems;
knowledge of local meteorology (from awareness of pollution), food premises, commercial premises, historical contaminated land data and knowledge of waste or other potentially hazardous sites;
designation under the Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985; and
liaison with the Government Decontamination Service.