Being prepared as a member of the public
In the event of an incident or emergency the advice is simple: go indoors, close doors and windows and shut down ventilation systems if it is safe to do so. Unless there is an obvious risk to the property this will give you good short-term protection against the vast majority of hazards.
Stay indoors until you know more about the situation and the appropriate action you need to take to protect yourself further. The action you should take will be different depending on the nature of an incident so you could put yourself at more risk by not waiting for further instructions.
Whilst all incidents or emergencies are different in terms of the dangers to members of the public and the response required, there are a range of relatively simple and inexpensive measures that can be adopted to improve self-reliance and to minimise possible disruption:
- Keep a battery-powered torch in an easily accessible place in case of a disruption to the power supply.
- Have a battery powered or wind up radio available so that you can tune in to the local radio station for information or advice.
- Maintain a small supply of ready to eat food that does not require preparation or cooking.
- Keep a supply of fresh bottled water in case of a disruption to the water supply.
- Have some warm clothing or blankets available in case of a disruption to the power supply.
- Ensure that your landline telephone works properly in the event of a power cut (and is not reliant on electricity). Do not rely solely on a mobile phone as networks may become overloaded and the mobile phone may need recharging.
- Remember to maintain a supply of spare batteries.
- Keep all medication and prescriptions in an easily accessible place in case you are asked to evacuate your home (and remember to take them with you).
- Identify any special needs or requirements that anyone in your house or premises may have (the elderly, young children, those on medication or those with disabilities, etc).
- Keep a list of useful telephone numbers to hand (GPs, the local authority, utility companies, insurance company etc).
- Familiarise yourself with the procedures for switching off gas, electricity and water supplies to your house or premises.
- Make sure you have adequate insurance.
It is worth also considering a car kit which would include -
- A torch and spare batteries.
- A container for fuel.
- An up-to-date road map.
- A couple of blankets.
- A flask.
- A small shovel.
- A first aid kit.
- Normal vehicle tools and spares.
- Keeping your vehicle well maintained and road worthy.
Please see Northamptonshire County Council's Fire and Public Safety website for details of more specific emergency advice.