COMMUNITIES putting in place contingency plans to prepare themselves for emergencies after the flooding last July now have an expert to turn to.

Tim Dowan has been appointed as Cotswold District Council's Community Resilience Liaison Officer, a new post created to help parishes prepare their plans.

He will be available as a liason between the district council and towns and parishes, as well as the emergency services, over matters such as finding people qualified to operate a chainsaw or a JCB, first aiders and the most vulnerable residents.

Tim said this week: "It's all about taking control of a situation and knowing what resources are available to help out.

"You identify what and where the potential problems are, including the vulnerable people or places within your community, and work out who and when, and with what equipment, would be best available to help out."

CDC has already played a key role in helping Fairford to co-ordinate its own emergency plans in the past.

Tim will also organise training days and events, liaises with outside agencies and helps residents to put applications together for Community Resilience Grants of up to £10,000.

Tim added: "It's not just flooding, plans will also be needed in the event of major road accidents, freak weather and even air crashes."