Being prepared for an emergency

What can you do?

Being prepared for a major emergency also means that you can 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:

  • Make a list of important contacts, such as family, friends and neighbours, your children's school, your GP, veterinary surgery, your gas, water, electricity supplier, your insurers and so on. Carry this (in a wallet or handbag) and keep copies handy at home, at work or in the car.
  • Arrange for a friend or relative out of your area to be the family contact point in case your family become separated during an emergency.
  • Make up an emergency pack for home, work and the car.
  • Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies.
  • Even if you normally listen to other stations, know how to tune into your local radio station for public safety information in an emergency.
  • Check that your insurance cover is up to date.
  • If in a flood risk area, keep a stock of empty sandbags and sand.

At home

Prepare an emergency pack containing:

  • a battery powered radio (with local radio frequencies marked)
  • torch
  • spare batteries
  • first aid kit
  • a copy of your contact list
  • bottled water/canned drinks

Make an evacuation checklist of items to pack quickly if you are suddenly advised to leave your home. This list might include:

  • your emergency pack (see above)
  • warm clothing
  • essential medication and personal items eg glasses
  • baby food, nappies
  • wallet, purse and bank cards
  • mobile phone and charger
  • pet carrier/collar, lead and muzzle, etc (take pets with you if possible as the emergency could be prolonged)

In the car

This may vary according to the time of year, but keep these items in the car as a basic emergency kit:

All year round:

  • bottled water
  • first aid kit
  • torch and batteries
  • cigar plug lead for mobile phone
  • sweets, long-life snacks

October to May:

  • a blanket, warm tracksuit and woolly hat
  • a waterproof coat
  • wellington boots
  • spare socks (can also be used a gloves)

At work

Know the emergency procedures 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.

In most major emergencies, the simple advice to follow is: Go inside, stay inside, and tune into local radio

With most incidents the safest place to be is indoors, and with correct preparation you should be able to stay there safely for some time.

Remember in the case of a fire in a building you are in - get out and stay out. To help you know what to do, listen to local radio for advice and information. Radio is easily accessible. You can listen to it in the car, and as long as you have a battery powered or wind-up radio, you can still listen in even if there is a power cut.

Local radio stations covering Plymouth

In an emergency, the authorities will broadcast safety information on local radio stations: