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The majority of emergencies are dealt with by the 'blue light' services: police, fire and ambulance; however depending on the nature of the emergency the council may assist by providing specialist staff or equipment or by establishing rest centres for evacuees.

Some emergencies can be unexpected and develop quickly, like transport accidents or chemical spillages; or they can be 'slow burn' events which escalate over time, such as an Influenza pandemic or fuel shortage. There may also be events that can be anticipated and planned for (but not entirely prevented) such as industrial accidents, flooding and severe weather events.

Some instances can result in people being evacuated from their homes, while in others like industrial fires, they could be asked to remain in their homes until it is safe.

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