State of Local Emergency (SoLE)

A declaration of a state of emergency may be issued by a local authority to acquire and exercise the powers set out in Section 11(1) and 11(2) of The Emergency Measures Act. Generally speaking, a SoLE is declared when an emergency is imminent or occurring.

A SoLE provides more powers to a local authority beyond those provided through a Prevention Order. Upon the declaration of, and during a SoLE, the Minister or the local authority may issue an order to any party to do everything necessary to prevent or limit loss of life and damage to property or the environment. A SoLE is valid for a period of 14 days, and can be extended.

Because local authorities can access the authority of Prevention Orders and SoLE's, they also have the responsibility to use them correctly and prudently.

A SoLE may intrude on individual and property owner's rights, and therefore the actions undertaken under these exceptional circumstances must be: permitted under The Emergency Measures Act, reasonably necessary in the face of an emergency or disaster, and proportional to the loss or damage that the action seeks to prevent.

  • Powers during a State of Local Emergency
  • Details of a Declaration
  • Sample State of Local Emergency
  • Public Notification

Powers during a State of Local Emergency

  1. cause emergency plans to be implemented;
  2. utilize any real or personal property considered necessary to prevent, combat or alleviate the effects of any emergency or disaster;
  3. authorize or require any qualified person to render aid of such type as that person may be qualified to provide;
  4. control, permit or prohibit travel to or from any area or on any road, street or highway;
  5. cause the evacuation of persons and the removal of livestock and personal property and make arrangements for the adequate care and protection thereof;
  6. control or prevent the movement of people and the removal of livestock from any designated area that may have a contaminating disease;
  7. authorize the entry into any building, or upon any land without warrant;
  8. cause the demolition or removal of any trees, structure or crops in order to prevent, combat or alleviate the effects of an emergency or a disaster;
  9. authorize the procurement and distribution of essential resources and the provision of essential services;
  10. regulate the distribution and availability of essential goods, services and resources;
  11. provide for the restoration of essential facilities, the distribution of essential supplies and the maintenance and
  12. co-ordination of emergency medical, social and other essential services;
  13. expend such sums as are necessary to pay expenses caused by the emergency.

Details of a declaration

It is a requirement that the essential details of a declaration must be communicated to the Minister responsible for The Emergency Measures Act as quickly as possible and confirmed forthwith in writing. Written declarations must, at the very least, contain the following information:

  • Who is making the declaration?
  • What is the nature of the emergency?
  • What is the extent of the emergency? (In other words, what area is affected or likely to be affected?)
  • When (date and time) is the declaration made?

Public notification

The Declaration of a State of Local Emergency must be communicated by the most expedient means to the public. Public notification of the State of Local Emergency should include the following:

  • The reason for declaring a State of Local Emergency
  • The area and/or extent of the emergency
  • An appeal to the public to obey all orders issued by the municipality or authorities during the emergency
  • An appeal to the public to stay clear of the emergency area
  • Assuring the public that all emergency response personnel will be diligent in the discharge of their duties.