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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Preparing for emergencies wherever you are

An emergency can happen at any time and in any place. You may be at home, at work, or even on holiday. Find out how to prepare for an emergency wherever you happen to be and things you can do to help prevent certain types of emergencies from happening.

Preparing for having to leave your home in an emergency

Some emergencies may mean that you have to leave your home. Things you can do to be prepared for this possibility are to:

  • put together a grab bag of essential items you might need in an emergency – eg spare cash, warm clothes, food and water
  • know how to safely turn off electricity, gas and water supplies and remember that you should unplug appliances and lock all doors and windows
  • if you have a car, keep it well maintained and keep bottled water and blankets in the boot
  • ask a family member or friend outside of the area if you can stay with them temporarily if something happens
  • make arrangements for your pets to go with you or be left in a safe place
  • think about what you would need to do when you return home, such as opening windows for fresh air before reconnecting gas supplies

Preparing for having to stay in your home in an emergency

Some emergencies may mean that you have to stay in your home. You can prepare for this by:

  • knowing where you can find torches and blankets (for light and warmth)
  • keeping a wind-up radio in your home so you can stay tuned in to information about the emergency
  • keeping a stock of ready-to-eat (eg tinned) food and drinking water for your family in case you can’t leave your home for several days
  • getting a landline telephone handset that draws power from the phone line (a cordless handset may not work if there is no mains power)

Being in your car when an emergency happens

Having an emergency kit in the boot can help you if you are in your car when an emergency happens. It should have things like a torch with spare batteries and warm clothes.

You can find out about driving in severe weather and what else you should have in your car emergency kit on the Highway Agency’s website.

If you are at work when an emergency happens

Employers have a responsibility for the safety and security of their staff and should have arrangements in place to deal with emergencies. You should check with your employer if you are unsure of what to do in an emergency. Other things you may want to think about are:

  • your journey to and from work and how you would get home if your normal route was disrupted
  • alternative arrangements you would need to make for childcare and other commitments

You can also ask your employer if they would let you volunteer your time in an emergency, as part of a community or charity group.

If you own or run a business, you can go to the Business Link website for advice on emergency planning for businesses.

If your children are at school during an emergency

If your children are at school when an emergency happens, it may be safest for them to stay there. You should tune in to your local radio station for information from your local council for when to collect your children from school.

All schools should have plans for local emergencies such as fires and flooding. You can ask your child’s school for details of their plans to deal with an emergency and include them as part of your own family’s preparations.

If you have family members who get professional care

You may live with members of your family who need regular professional care (eg visits from a home help). You should speak to the people that provide this care and find out what their emergency preparations are if they can’t reach you in an emergency.

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