Be prepared

The chances of you or your family being caught up in an emergency are low but it is important to prepare just in case this happens. There are a number of ways you can prepare for emergencies, increasing the resilience of your family and ensuring everyone knows what to do and how to stay safe during an emergency.

Personal contact list

Make a list of all your personal contact numbers, including friends and family. Keep a copy in a place you could find it quickly, for example in your Emergency Kit Bag, and give a copy to each member of your family. Make sure you update all copies of the list when necessary.

It may also be useful to store personal contact numbers on your mobile telephone however, remember that during an emergency mobile phone networks are likely to be very busy. Try to only use your mobile phone for essential calls or text messages to establish people’s safety or let them know you are safe.

Add an ICE – In Case of Emergency – to the beginning of one number in your contact list. This is the phone number the emergency services will look for and phone if something should happen to you as a result of the incident.

Household emergency plan

Creating a Household Emergency Plan allows you and your family to think about what actions you need to take in the event of an emergency before it happens. If you are advised to evacuate and need to leave in a hurry, essentials may be forgotten in the rush. When creating a Household Emergency Plan, think about the following:

  • Discuss the kind of emergencies that could happen
  • Identify possible escape routes from you home and keep window / door keys in an accessible place
  • Agree a couple of meeting points in case you cannot get home. Make sure all members of the family know where the meeting points are
  • Consider where you could stay in case you are asked to evacuate your home, for example with a family friend
  • Create an Emergency Kit Bag in case you need to evacuate your home quickly
  • Know how and where to turn gas, electric and water supplies off
  • Think about arrangements for family pets in case you need to leave your home
  • Keep supplies of tinned food, bottled water, matches, candles and a battery operated radio in case you are unable to leave your home
  • Consider neighbours who may need extra help due to vulnerability or disability
  • Ensure you have adequate and up to date insurance
  • Develop a personal contact list
  • Find out about emergency plans for your workplace and children’s school.

Keep a copy of your Household Emergency Plan in a safe, accessible place. Make sure all members of your family agree with the content of the plan and review it twice a year to check the information is still relevant.

Emergency kit bag

In an emergency you may be evacuated from your home quickly and it is important to have essentials to hand, so they can be collected quickly on your way out if it is safe to do so. Below are some suggestions of items you could keep in your kit bag:

  • Key documents – such as passport, driving licence, insurance details
  • Personal contact list
  • First aid kit
  • Written procedures for turning off gas, electric and water
  • Details of prescription medication/equipment – make sure these are kept up to date
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Spare glasses or contact lenses
  • Whistle – for attracting attention
  • Toiletries – including nappies and sanitary supplies
  • Any special items for babies, children, elderly or disabled people
  • Spare set of keys
  • Bottled water and energy bars
  • Coins / cash
  • A torch and batteries or wind up torch
  • Change of clothes
  • Notebook and pencil.

In the event of an incident such as severe weather you may have to spend a prolonged period in your home without gas, electricity or water. In addition to the items in your kit bag, listed above, you should keep some basic essentials in your home which will help you support your family:

  • Tins of food
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets
  • Battery operated or wind-up radio
  • Candles and matches
  • Wind-up torch.

If you own a car, keep some supplies in your boot. This will ensure you are comfortable should you have to remain in your vehicle for a number of hours. It may be useful to keep the following in your car:

  • Bottled water
  • Long life snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Torch and batteries
  • Mobile phone and cigar plug lead
  • Useful telephone numbers
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Waterproof coat and hat
  • Wellingtons / waterproof boots
  • Spare thick socks
  • Spade.

The Emergency Planning Team have produced a leaflet PDFDon't Panic - Prepare [PDF 1653KB]