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Got a chainsaw? Sussex emergency services needs you!
Residents are being asked to help themselves so the emergency services can cope in emergencies.
Home owners are being given advice on how to protect their homes and businesses from major incidents such as flooding or pandemic flu.
And members of the community are being asked to chip in, with 4x4 vehicles, boat owners and qualified chainsaw operators being lined up to help in an emergency to alleviate the pressure on the “blue light” services.
The move is being pushed by the Sussex Resilience Forum, made up of emergency services, local authorities, Government agencies and the voluntary sector.
West Sussex county fire officer Max Hood said the fire service received more than 1,000 emergency calls in 24 hours during the flooding in Littlehampton and Bognor in June.
He admitted the emergency services were “stretched” during the floods and hoped the move would help.
Mr Hood said: “The blue light services will always respond to emergencies but the sheer scale of some incidents means control rooms can become swamped with 999 calls and requests for assistance.
“At times like this, when emergency resources are clearly stretched, communities and individuals can make a big difference locally by planning ahead and preparing for emergencies before they happen.”
Local parish councils and neighbourhood groups are expected to take the lead, drawing up a list of vulnerable residents, volunteers ready to help and what resources they have at hand if needed.
They will be steered by the Sussex Resilience Forum, which is holding its first Community Resilience Seminar on Thursday at County Hall North in Horsham.
To see the advice given by the Sussex Resilience Forum visit sussexemergency.info.