Halton Borough Council staff stepped up to the mark during Storm Doris, dealing with 70 road closures, 666 calls to the call centre, opening up a rest centre as a place of safety for displaced families and clearing trees from highways, on Thursday 23 February.

Cheshire Police declared a Major Incident for Cheshire and as usual Halton met the challenge, co-ordinating the multi-agency response for Halton through its Emergency Planning Team.

Despite the hazardous conditions, staff worked hard and were totally committed in resolving many of the issues that Halton faced:

• 666 calls were received by Contact Centre advisors who provided information and processed 137 requests for assistance due to the storm. Calls continued to be received in relation to the storm.
• Highways teams managed more than 70 road closures to assist with the free flow of traffic and were able to keep the Silver Jubilee Bridge open.
• Open Space teams dispatched crews to 81 emergency tree clearing jobs with many more clearances of fallen trees and debris off the highways and from homes. They worked from 8am to 9pm on Thursday and finished their 13 hour shift with a smile. (see pic) They continue with the clear up today.
• Building Control Officers visited many buildings and homes that had been severely damaged by the storm, giving advice to the police and residents. Their work also continues.
• A rest centre was opened in Runcorn (Grangeway Community Centre) for approximately 35 residents who had been evacuated from their homes on Halton Lodge (when their rooves had been blown off). Social Care staff were on hand at the centre providing care and assistance. A number of people from the Uplands were evacuated due to a tree falling through a window of a house. These people were also taken to the rest centre as a place of safety.
Halton Borough Council’s Glendale Children’s Centre provided clothes and toys for children evacuated. Castlefields Community Centre provided refreshments for the people at the centre.
The Housing Solution Team was able to provide temporary accommodation to the families who were rendered homeless by the storm, others were placed with family members. Officers also liaised with their housing association to sort out alternative accommodation.
The rest centre was then stood down at 16.45.
• Community wardens continued to deliver their service visiting vulnerable residents on Lifeline and community meals were still deliver

Reports received that a number of tiles have blown off Kingsway House, which will be repaired.

Front line and back office support to the incident was provided by many council employees, the list is exhaustive.

Halton Borough Council’s Emergency Planning Team took part in a number of multi agency teleconferences throughout the day, to ensure a co-ordinated effective multi agency response was in place.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Community Safety, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: “Storm Doris did not defeat the efforts of council employees who pulled together, some taking on additional roles to help their colleagues and Halton residents through the crisis. Recognition and a massive thanks goes to all involved.

“Officers have done a terrific job of work at this difficult time. I want to register my sincere thanks and appreciation to a job well done by all.”