The Dartford Borough Council Emergency Centre is located beneath the Civic Centre in Prior Road Dartford although it isn’t underground.
The Emergency Centre is a late build, being completed in 1991 and replacing the previous emergency centre which consisted of two rooms in the basement of the Orchard Theatre in Dartford.
One wing of the Civic Centre was built on stilts, the area under the offices being used as a staff car park. One section of this car park was filled in forming the new emergency centre.
The main entrance into the emergency centre is from the ground floor of the Civic Centre where there is an ordinary door into a large liaison room; there is no blast or fallout protection at this point. The room is now used as a general office by the council. There is a small ECN switchboard on a desk in one corner but no EMP protected cabinet. Apparently the phone rings regularly and the staff in the room have been instructed not to answer it.
On the far side of the room there are two doors, one leads into a small room which might have been the communications room while the other leads into the larger control room. This is still equipped for use as an emergency centre with local and regional maps on the walls but there are no computer terminals and nowhere to plug them in.
Both this and the adjacent liaison room have large windows and in the event of a nuclear or gas attack there is a stack of concrete shutters that could be fitted over the windows. These are stored at a council depot elsewhere in the Borough.
From the other side of the control room a door leads to a short corridor and the emergency exit which in the event of an attack would be used as the main entrance into the emergency centre. At the far end of the corridor is a steel and concrete blast door and beyond it a wooden door into the car park.
On one side of the corridor is a well equipped kitchen with a Viscount cooker, Toshiba microwave oven, Beko fridge, Electrolux freezer, hot water dispenser, stainless steel sink and draining board and wood kitchen units. The room also has a window looking into the car park. On the other side of the corridor is the plant room with electrical switchgear and a standby generator that only serves the emergency centre. There is also ventilation and filtration plant that feeds concealed trunking in the ceiling of the two main rooms.
Although Dartford’s emergency centre is available for use the emergency planning team prefer to use their ordinary offices because of the lack of computer terminals in the emergency centre.