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Helping Yourself

The chances of you being caught in a major emergency or disaster are low.  Nevertheless they can happen and this page shows you how you can be better prepared to protect yourself and others.

What is a major emergency?

Essentially a major emergency is something on a scale that needs special arrangements to deal with it, such as:

The emergency services, local authorities, health trusts, voluntary agencies and the utilities companies all have co-ordinated emergency plans in place.  The aim is to save life, contain the hazard, protect the public and return to normality as soon as possible, but that task is made much easier if the public also know what to do in an emergency.

Being prepared for a major emergency also means that you deal more effectively with minor ones.  In most situations you will either need to seek immediate shelter from the threat or hazard or to move right away from it, so it makes sense to have a plan to do both.  Useful steps you can take beforehand include:

Emergency Pack

It is recommended that all households are suitably prepared for the different types of hazard that we could face and in doing so should have an 'Emergency Pack' at hand at home, in the car and at work.

The contents of this pack may be a matter of preference, however, suggested contents should include:

At Home

Make an evacuation checklist of items to pack quickly if you are suddenly advised to leave your home.

This list might include:

In the Car:

These could vary depending on the time of the year, but could include items such as:

At Work

Know the emergency procedure for your workplace thoroughly.  In some situations you might have to remain at your workplace for safety.  Your building may have good facilities but even so it could pay to think about what you would need if you had to stay overnight.

General advice about what to do in an emergency

If you find yourself in the middle of an emergency, your common sense and instincts will usually tell you what to do. However, it is important to:

If you are not involved in the incident, but are close by or believe you may be in danger, in most cases the advice is:

Of course, there are always going to be particular occasions when you should not "go in" to a building, for example if there is a fire. Otherwise: go in, stay in and tune in to local radio or television.

Emergency Action Checklist

Severe gale/storm (forecast gusts over 70 mph)



Flooding eg a 'flood warning' or 'severe flood warning' is issued



Toxic chemical or radiation release



Go in, stay in, tune in

Broadcast information

Emergency information will be broadcast on:

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