Published: January 21, 2012
Quick set-up of Burnham evacuation centre praised by residents

Almost 50 residents who were evacuated from their homes during Friday's explosives incident in Burnham-On-Sea used an emergency rest centre set up in the town.

Burnham Community Centre, pictured above, was converted into the rest centre by Sedgemoor District Council - and many of those who used the facilities have praised the authority for its swift work.

Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told "Our Environmental Health and Housing section was asked to set up a rest centre in Burnham for upwards of 100 people just after 9.30am and we had it in place within an hour."

"Burnham Community Centre was chosen as the location since it was far enough away from the incident. It is well known that displaced persons like to be as near to their homes as is safely possible."

The Civil Contingencies Unit made available hot meals via the Salvation Army's incident vehicle, which had been dispatched from Exeter and was run by volunteers from The Salvation Army in Bridgwater.

The council's dog wardens also assisted with the pet requirements of people who taken their pets to the rest centre. And the council's health and safety team co-ordinated car parking at the Community Centre free of charge to ensure responders had dedicated spaces to park, saving valuable time.

The Red Cross and St John Ambulance were in attendance at the Community Centre to deal with any first aid issues. And Somerset 4x4 were on call to help any residents who were unable to use their vehicles or had disability issues. The WVRS were also on hand to help.

One Burnham resident who used the evacuation centre, Sheila Burrows, told "I would like to say well done to everyone involved in the evacuation at Beatty way. As a local resident, we came home from work to find the whole area cordoned off and surrounded by police."

"At this stage we were unaware of what was going on but were soon informed by the police. Our dog was inside our property on her own, but the police kindly offered to bring out our dog to us and I would like to thank him."

"The evacuation procedure at the community centre was extremely well organised and a huge thank you goes to all the voluntary services involved. A big thank you also goes to the council for supplying food for my dog. We were also kept fully informed of the situation at all times by the police."

Another resident, Mandy Horsey, told "The Salvation Army food van came and we all had a endless supply of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and burgers and bacon rolls. We were allowed to leave the centre but to sign in and out. The police were very informative. The helpers were always around and asking if we were all OK. I would say the day was very different to my normal Friday, but with the support and help from the police and support workers there was no panic."

The rest centre staff were finally stood down just after 10pm when police declared the area safe and residents returned to their homes.

District council spokesman Claire Faun added: "A forward rota of volunteers and staff from Sedgemoor District Council and Homes in Sedgemoor was on hand if the incident had continued overnight and into the weekend."

"Upwards of 50 residents and their pets used the centre over the 12-hour period. Sedgemoor District Council thank all staff and organisations who assisted with the centre."


Beatty Way cordon lifted by police
More photos of the police investigation in Beatty Way
Recycling collections delayed by police probe
Police confirm incident 'was not terrorism related'
Video of the army bomb disposal team at the scene


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