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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-emergencies/preparing-for-emergencies
This guidance helps people, businesses and communities to identify and prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt their lives.
1. What risks should you plan for?
Various hazards and threats such as extreme weather and cybercrime could have a big impact on you and your property. They could also affect the services you rely on – such as transport, utilities, communications and financial services.
These resources can help you to be aware of the risks in your local area:
- read what you can do to be ‘Weather Ready’
- check your local weather forecast and keep up to date with weather warnings
- check your risk of flooding and sign up for alerts from the Environment Agency
- read the Community Risk Register and planning assumptions for your local area, published by Local Resilience Forums
Find out about your council’s emergency plans and services and identify if the roads you use are priority gritting routes, if they are not, then you may need to do some extra planning for winter weather:
- download the free Emergency App from The British Red Cross for targeted emergency alerts and information
- understand the national risks and their impacts by reading the National Risk Register and the National Business Resilience Planning Assumptions
2. Prepare yourself for emergencies
These resources help people to quickly prepare for the hazards and threats that may affect them.
Quick and easy preparation:
- make sure you have suitable insurance, the Association of British Insurers website has useful information on home insurance and flooding insurance
- think about where you would go and stay – and how you would get there – if an emergency meant that you couldn’t stay at home
- make an emergency plan or a flood plan and discuss it with your family and friends so they know what to do. Here is an example template, but you might want to search for a version produced by your Local Resilience Forum
- put together a ‘grab bag’ of things to take in an emergency
More advanced preparation for flooding:
- read advice on planning ahead, and also managing and recovering from a flood
- prepare your home to be resilient to flooding and read these frequently asked questions about resilient repairs to your home
- understand what to expect from your insurer if you are flooded
One of the best ways to improve your resilience to an emergency is to plan with other people. Read more information on how you can get involved in your community’s resilience in section 4 below.
3. Prepare your business for emergencies
These resources enable businesses to identify and prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt their operations.
Being more prepared and resilient can give a competitive advantage to your business. The actions you take to make your business resilient will depend on your circumstances and the risks you are comfortable taking. Having assessed these, only you can decide how much time, and possibly money, you want to invest in increasing your resilience. The suggested actions below will get you started, ranging from a free ‘print off and fill-in’ plan to more specialist training.
Quick and easy preparation:
- make sure you have suitable insurance, the Association of British Insurers provides helpful information. Commercial property insurance is particularly relevant
- complete the 10 Minute Plan on the Business Emergency Resilience Group website
- think through potential disruptions to your company and what you can do about them in greater detail using the Dummies Guide to Business Continuity
- put together a ‘battle box’ containing important documents and items to keep your business running, in case you have to relocate with little or no notice
- consider your preparation for cyber threats
More advanced preparation:
- complete a free Business Resilience Health Check to help you understand how to make your company more resilient in about 1 and a half hours
- talk to neighbours, businesses and customers about your plans and how you could support each other
- test your plan and adjust it where necessary to avoid complications in an emergency
- make sure all your staff have copies of your plan and that they know their responsibilities in an emergency
- read the guidance for preparing your businesses for flooding and for preparing your premises
4. Prepare your community for emergencies
These resources enable communities to prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt their neighbourhoods.
The Preparing for emergencies: guide for communities provides a framework for thinking about why and how you can help your community to be prepared, including:
- why you should be involved and be prepared
- what you can do to make it happen in your community
- what help is available from government to support community preparedness
Local Resilience Forums organise and coordinate the emergency response in your area. You can contact your Local Resilience Forum to find out, or suggest, how you can prepare your community for emergencies.
There are loads of great ‘how-to guides’, case studies and toolkits for community flood planning on the National Flood Forum’s website.
4.1 Developing a plan for your community group
If you are setting up a new community resilience group you should develop a plan for how your group supports the community and the emergency response. These resources can help you plan:
- a community emergency plan toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to help you and your community produce a Community Emergency Plan
- information on how to develop a community emergency plan in 10 steps is provided by this guide
- this community emergency plan template provides an outline of the key information plans should include. There is an example plan here
- parish plan templates are available from Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum
- you can find information about whether you will need insurance to cover the group’s activities by contacting your local authority
- if you need funding for something in your plan the Big Lottery Fund and National Lottery Awards for All is a good place to start
5. Volunteering to help the emergency response
There are many ways you can help the emergency response. Many of these will be identified as part of your community emergency planning. Volunteering roles can range from helping out your neighbours, providing advice and a cup to tea, to assisting with search and rescue efforts.
It is important:
- that you respect the wishes of those affected by an emergency
- that you do not put yourself in any danger
- that you do not add extra burden to the efforts of the organised emergency response
Prior to an emergency, try to identify local organisations and charities that you can volunteer with. They can help you identify the roles you can play and develop the knowledge and skills you need to be most effective.
Some volunteering schemes are very specific to emergencies and others are more generic - but they would be called on in the event of an emergency. Here are a few ways you can find the local opportunities to suit your interests and skills:
- talk to your Local Resilience Forum members to find out which schemes are most relevant to your local area and which voluntary organisations are most active in emergency management
- find out about local volunteering opportunities through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations website and talk to your local volunteer centre
- consider signing-up for emergency services volunteer schemes. There are volunteer opportunities in the Police, and your local Fire and Rescue services often have volunteering schemes too. There are also a variety of youth volunteering opportunities
- consider signing-up for the British Red Cross’s Community Reserve Volunteers scheme
6. Further information
The Communities Prepared programme started in 2008 to explore ways to support communities in becoming resilient to the range of probable emergencies. The programme seeks to empower communities, businesses, and individuals to harness local resources and expertise to help themselves and their communities to:
- prepare, respond and recover from disruptive challenges, in a way that complements the activity of Category 1 and 2 emergency responders
- adapt to longer-term changes and opportunities, in pursuit of their future resilience and prosperity