When any emergency strikes at the heart of society, we often need ways of getting information out to as many people as possible. We saw this during recent pandemic lockdowns, and it’s very evident again with the UK’s first ever red heat warning and temperatures expected to approach 40C in southern Britain and across much of western Europe in the coming days. Critical advice on staying cool, making sure the vulnerable have access to food and drink or just letting people know how they can care for those most at risk – all is essential information that needs to get to as many people as quickly as possible. Technology can be a valuable tool here.

Resilience First member, PA Consulting’s Automated Contact Service (ACS), is one such example. They have deployed this in a London Borough during this hot weather to significantly increase the pace of getting the necessary advice and information to local residents. Using emails, phone calls, texts, or a combination of all three, the local authority is able to engage rapidly and efficiently with local people needing essential information most. The service uses a script which offers NHS advice on how to stay cool, the importance of drinking fluids as well as signs and symptoms of possible health effects brought on by heat. In a similar manner to that used during pandemic lockdowns, local residents are also given key information on how to access food and drink if they cannot get out as well as on getting support to carers who may be having difficulty in providing care duties due to the heat. All this is linked to accessing essential local social services where this is required.

Clearly, technology offers the means of providing advice and support to those who need it at times of emergency. Undoubtedly, statutory services and public agencies will be making greater use of technology, and this is likely to be a key tenet of the forthcoming National Resilience Strategy for the UK. The whole-of-society approach that the Strategy is expected to adopt, will see greater encouragement for the business community to work more closely with the public sector on enhancing resilience across society. In the meantime, stay cool, and if members have other technological resilience solutions they’d like to discuss, we’d be delighted to hear about these at Resilience First. Contact Alastair Brown on abrown@resiliencefirst.co.uk