Disaster response training

Ella Rhodes reports.

Chaplains in Hertfordshire have recently been trained to support members of their communities following major, life-changing disasters. The programme of training was established after lessons were learned from national disasters including the Grenfell Tower fire and Manchester Arena bombing.

The programme has been implemented by Hertfordshire County Council’s Public Health Department and the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust as part of the Local Health Resilience Partnership. The specialist training has been provided to 60 chaplains from a range of faith groups, as well as counsellors from non-faith backgrounds, who work in hospitals and hospices, the police, railway, Stansted Airport, churches, and community organisations including the YMCA.

Professor Jim McManus, Co-Chair of the Hertfordshire Local Health Resilience Partnership and Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, said that while he hoped the county would never again experience major events like the Hatfield and Potters Bar rail crashes it was important to be prepared. ‘Getting the response right prevents damage to people and organisations. Our training identifies the issues and presents the latest research findings and best practice. Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care teams are ideally placed to understand and respond to traumatic incidents, and for many agencies have a dedicated role in their emergency response plans. It makes sense to build their skills and expertise in this area.’ 

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