What is a Major Emergency?

A Major Emergency is any event which, usually with little or no warning, causes or threatens injury or death, serious disruption of essential services or damage to property, the environment or infrastructure beyond the normal capabilities of the principal emergency services.

A Major Emergency requires the mobilisation of additional resources to ensure an effective and coordinated response.

Limerick City and County Council has a Major Emergency Management Committee, which consists of senior personnel from each section of the Local Authority. This committee develop a Major Emergency Management Programme each year to prepare for and make a coordinated response to major emergencies resulting from local and regional events such as fire, transport accidents, hazardous substances incidents and severe weather.

Five Stage Systems Approach

The Major Emergency Management programme is based on the following Five Stage Systems Approach.

Hazard Analysis / Risk Assessment

A process by which the hazards facing a particular community are identified and analysed/assessed in terms of the threat/risk, which they pose (e.g. Severe Weather, Flooding, Multiple Vehicle Collisions, Rail incident etc)

Mitigation / Risk Assessment

Includes all actions taken to eliminate or reduce the risk o people, property and the environment from the hazards which threaten them. (e.g. enforcement of legislation, education, flood defences.)

Planning and Preparedness

Actions undertaken before an emergency occurs and includes:

  • preparation of emergency plans;
  • development of preparedness and response arrangements and the building of capacity for assigned functions, in light of the risks faced;
  • education, training and development of staff who will be required to respond to an emergency;
  • exercising and testing of systems, plans and procedures;
  • procurement of resources necessary to underpin preparedness;
  • maintenance of any necessary facilities; and
  • audit/assessment of preparedness.

Coordinated Response

Takes place immediately before, during and directly after an emergency and includes activities such as public warning, search and rescue, emergency medical assistance extinguishing of fires, containment of hazardous materials, transport of casualties, treatment of casualties, maintenance of public order and all associated support activities, as well as the co-ordination and management of these activities.


Generally regarded as occurring in two phases - immediate recovery and long-term recovery.

  • Immediate recovery activities include damage assessment, the clearing of debris, the restoration of essential supplies and services, and investigation.
  • Long-term recovery activities include ongoing treatment and support of casualties and   survivors, reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, buildings and services, restoring normality, and the identification of actions that may mitigate the effects of future emergencies.

The Major Emergency Plan for Limerick City and County Council has been prepared in accordance with the guidance issued by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (An Roinn Tithíochta, Pleanála, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiύil) in relation to Major Emergency Management and is consistent with ‘A Framework for Major Emergency Management (2006)'.

The Plan has been prepared to facilitate the response to, and recovery from major emergencies, as well as ensuring the Council's arrangements are coordinated with those of the other designated Principal Response Agencies, the Health Service Executive and An Garda Síochána.

The Major Emergency Plan accessible to the public is available in the supporting documents below.

The objectives of the plan are to protect life and property, to minimise disruption to the community and to provide immediate support for those affected. To achieve this objective the plan sets out the basis for a coordinated response to a major emergency and the different roles and functions to be performed by the various agencies. The following are the priorities of the Limerick City and County Council response in an emergency.

  • Protection and care of the public at times of vulnerability
  • Clear leadership in times of crisis
  • Early and appropriate response
  • Efficient, co-ordinated operations
  • Realistic and rational approach, capable of being delivered
  • Transparent systems, with accountability
  • Harnessing community spirit
  • The ethos of self protection
  • Safe working

Download the latest documents

This service is provided by

Fire and Emergency Services

Phone +353 61 556859
Limerick City and County Council, Lissanalta House, Dooradoyle Road, Dooradoyle, Limerick, V94 WV78