Emergency Planning Officer
North East Lincolnshire County Council

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Suzanne P

00:00:03 I’m Suzanne P and I’m an emergency plan officer for Humber Emergency Planning Service. An emergency planning officer plans for emergencies. We don’t respond like the emergency services do but we put procedures in place so everything runs smoothly. We tend to focus on animal disease, flooding, oil pollution, human diseases such as pandemic influenza. It’s only when the emergencies hit big time that everybody gets to know about it. So, a lot of our job is behind the scenes making sure those things don’t get any bigger.

00:00:38 I’ve been working for Humber Emergency Planning Service for almost three years now. I started off as emergency plan assistant when I came in and I’ve worked my way up to emergency plan officer. I was working in the hotel industry and just wanted a change, a complete change as it was. Saw the job for emergency plan assistant advertised and went for it.

00:01:05 Looking back on when I was at school I don’t remember any of my friends ever knowing what they wanted to do. I did have an idea that I might like to work for a Local Authority but only because my Dad worked for a Local Authority and I thought it looked like quite a cushty job. He used to leave home at half past eight and come back for his tea in the evening but now I find it’s not quite so easy.

00:01:32 I got good results in my GCSEs and then stayed at school in the sixth form to do my A Levels. But, to be quite honest, didn’t really try very hard. I think I discovered the rest of the world so when I finished my A Levels I decided that I was going to take a year out before I went to university. Just didn’t want to stay on at in education, I was just sick of it by that time. So, I got offered the opportunity to go to Spain with one of my friends, that’s where I went. Initially it was supposed to be for six months and I ended up staying for three years.

00:02:08 What happened is I was working in a bar with one of my best friends from school who had a friend in Salou which is not far from Barcelona who just wanted some people to go out and work in a bar and we jumped at the chance. And then we got asked if we wanted to work in a hotel who were crying out for English speakers which were quite good at. Moved into the hotel and worked there and just absolutely loved it for three years but it got to a point where surviving on a few hours’ sleep a night and not really having anything to show for it, you know, everybody was settling down with, buying houses and cars and things. It was time to come home.

00:02:53 When I came back from Spain it was sort of like back to reality. I realised it wasn’t going to be going out every weekend and I knew I had to find a job, really.

00:03:06 I have actually gone back to university now so I’m actually doing three hours a week in the evening. I’m doing a degree in social and behavioural studies which is nothing to do with my job. It was just a subject that I thought I’d enjoy. I mean, with me not knowing where my career’s going from here it’s quite nice that I’ve got my experience from emergency planning but I’ve also got, or will have, a degree in a completely different subject so I can literally take it anywhere.

00:03:35 In the next sort of five, 10 years time who knows where I’m going to be. You think in emergency planning I would make plans for the future but I don’t think you know what’s going to come next. At the moment I love my job in emergency planning but if you ask if I was going to be in emergency planning for the rest of my career, then I’d say probably not but I couldn’t tell you what I was going to do next.


Suzanne is an Emergency Planning Officer, putting procedures in place to respond to disasters such as flooding, pollution etc. She originally worked in the hotel industry in Spain. She has now gone back to university, studying social and behavioural studies.

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