Preparing for emergencies
We have guidance on how you can prepare for emergencies.
How to start preparing
To prepare for emergencies you should think about:
- the hazards that could affect your home
- what you could do about these hazards
- how you could feed yourself and others without the shops
- how you could cope without heating, light or water
Preparing your home
To prepare your home you should do the following:
- install and regularly check them
- have an emergency food and water supply for you and your pets
- have an easy to find list of useful phone numbers such as your doctors, your place of work, your children’s school, your vets, your insurers and friends and relatives
- keep a list of the medications and prescriptions you and your family are on
- make copies of important documents such as birth or marriage certificates and keep them in a safe place or in your grab bag
- prepare a grab bag in case you need to leave home quickly (include a first aid kit, batteries, wind up torches, wind up radio, mobile phone charger, copies of important documents, food and water, seasonal clothes and personal toiletries)
- make emergency arrangements such as evacuation plans, severe weather plans and pet emergency plans
Our evacuation to a rest centre page has information on what to expect if you are evacuated to a rest centre during an emergency.
Preparing your car
You are more likely to be stuck in your car during traffic jams or stranded in your car in severe weather.
During an emergency you may also need to use your car to evacuate your home.
To be prepared you should keep a small emergency kit in your car that has the following items:
- long life snack bars
- drinking water
- torch with spare batteries
- pen and paper
- plastic bags
- wet wipes
- car maintenance and rescue equipment
- tow rope
- jump leads
For winter journeys your emergency kit should have extra items such as:
- warm clothing
- a snow shovel
- a flask with a hot drink
To prepare your pets you should do the following:
- have a supply of pet food and bedding
- make sure rabbit and guinea pig hutches are in good repair and weather tight
- make sure your pet is microchipped with your correct contact details
- make sure your pet’s collar has a name tag and your contact details
- have a list of your pet’s medication and the phone number for your vet
- have copies of important documents such as your pet’s vaccination record and keep them in a safe place or in your grab bag
Preparing for severe weather
If the Met Office issues an emergency weather warning, you should prepare by:
- put cars in garages or where they will be safe from flying debris such as tiles or branches
- move or secure items outside your home that can blow away such as patio furniture or bins
- move items from around your home that might blow into windows or patio doors
What to do during severe weather
- stay inside unless you must go out
- check the Met Office for further weather warnings
- follow local media for any emergency information
- if you must go outside watch out for flying debris and wear eye and head protection if possible
- avoid making any repairs until the storm is over
You must not put yourself in danger checking on pets during severe weather.
Fallen power cables
If power cables come down by high winds you must stay away from them. Do not touch any item that may be touching power lines. High voltages can kill.
You must report fallen or damaged power lines to your electricity provider.
Do not try to remove any fallen trees yourself. You must report a problem with a tree to us.
Power supplies during severe weather
You can find information on preparing for a power cut or gas emergency on our utility supply information page.
You can find more information to help you prepare in our step-by-step guides for preparing your home, pets and car.
There is also guidance on preparing for emergencies on GOV.UK.