To prepare for an emergency you should take time NOW to:
Ask your town or parish council if they have a community emergency plan. Speak to the clerk about getting involved.
- Familiarise yourself with the emergency procedures for your children at school.
- Familiarise yourself with the emergency procedures at your workplace.
- Agree how your family will stay in contact in the event of an emergency.
- Find out if you have any elderly or vulnerable neighbours that may need your help in an emergency.
- Find out if you are in a flood risk area. Check NOW by visiting the Gov.UK website. If you are in a flood risk area you should sign-up to the free warning service offered by the Environment Agency. They will also be able to give you lots of useful information such as how to protect your property from a flood.
- Make sure that you have a complete first aid kit. Think about taking a first aid course.
- Carry out regular maintenance checks on your home, any outbuildings and your car, and make sure that you keep up to date with repairs.
- Teach your children to stay away from potential dangers including open water, electricity pylons and railway lines.
- Prepare your family grab bag.
- Think about arrangements for family pets should you need to leave your home.
Don’t panic! The chances of you being caught up in a major emergency are low but, just in case this happens, you and your family need to be ready. One way of doing this is to prepare a household emergency plan.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Discuss the kind of emergencies that could happen, e.g. a major power failure.
- Keep supplies of tinned food, bottled water, candles and matches, in case you are unable to leave your home.
- Do you, your family or neighbours need extra help due to vulnerability or disability? Think now about who could help.
- Identify possible exit routes from each room in your home.
- Agree a couple of alternative meeting points for you and your family if you can’t meet back at home.
- Make sure you know where to turn off the electricity, gas and water supply.
- Develop your own emergency contact list and remember to include a family member or friend who lives out of town, and is unlikely to be affected by the same emergency.
- Remember to share your plan with your family and, twice a year, read, review and discuss it!
Preparing a ‘Grab Bag’
It is advisable to prepare in advance a ‘grab bag’ you and your family can use in such an emergency. The grab bag should be small enough to carry and be stored in a secure place that everyone in your family can find. It should be maintained and checked regularly.
Why do I need a grab bag?
It holds vital personal information and items that might be useful in an emergency. It should be stored somewhere easy to access in an emergency and be portable so that you can take it with you if you need to evacuate your home.
What should be in the grab bag?
- key documents such as passport, driving licence, your personal emergency contacts list, insurance details and pet vaccination certificate
- First Aid Kit including any medication
- wet wipes and/or antibacterial hand gel
- battery powered radio, torch and extra spare batteries or wind-up radio
- notebook and pen/ pencil
- mobile phone/charger
- glasses/ contact lenses
- toiletries including nappies and sanitary supplies
- any special items for babies, children, elderly and disabled people
- spare set of keys (home, car, office)
- bottled water/ energy bars
- coins/cash (small denominations and credit/debit cards)
- change of clothes and blankets and sensible footwear (if necessary waterproofs)
Further guidance on 'Preparing for emergencies' can be found on the GOV.UK website.