Advice on self-preparedness for emergencies

Think about what crises and accidents could affect you at home and prepare for them to the best of your ability. If there is no power or you are cut off by the weather, you should be equipped to fend for yourself for at least 72 hours.

Be prepared

Most of us are completely dependent on electricity in our every-day lives: for heating, light, cooking, hot water and running electrical appliances and devices. Storms, natural disasters, sabotage, technical problems, terrorism or acts of war can result in many people’s electricity or water supply being cut off. They can also make it more difficult to get hold of essential goods and supplies. While the chance of this happening is quite small, it is best to be prepared. With a small back-up supply of the things you are most dependent on – water, food, medicines and a source of heat – you are better equipped to manage on your own for a few days.

Assess the risks and vulnerabilities in your home

Think about what might happen, what consequences these incidents could have, and how your family would deal with the situation. Find out who might need your help and how you can contribute. If you have equipment you plan to use in an emergency, make sure that you know how to use it and that it is in good working order.

Meeting your basic needs for three days

The basic needs that must be met in the first three days of any crisis are heating, drink, food, medicines, hygiene and information. Many of us already have a good deal of what we need to fend for ourselves for a few days, so you may not have to do very much to be completely prepared.

If you have the essentials to be able to survive on your own for at least 72 hours, you are equipped to get through most crises. Should the crisis last a long time, you will have a little extra time to make further plans thanks to these preparations. In addition, by being able to survive on your own for a few days, you are allowing those who need assistance most to receive it first.

Example household emergency survival kit:

  • nine litres of water per person
  • two packs of crispbread per person
  • one pack of porridge oats per person
  • three tinned meals or three bags of dried food per person
  • three tins of sandwich spreads or fillings with a long shelf-life per person
  • a few bags of dried fruit or nuts, biscuits and chocolate
  • any medicines you rely on
  • heater that runs on wood, gas or paraffin
  • gas barbecue grill or stove for cooking
  • candles, battery-powered torches or paraffin lamps
  • matches or lighters
  • warm clothes, blankets and sleeping bags
  • first aid kit
  • battery-powered DAB radio 
  • batteries, fully charged power bank and mobile charger for a car
  • wet wipes and disinfectant
  • toilet paper
  • sanitary products
  • some cash
  • extra fuel and wood/gas/paraffin/methylated spirits for heating and cooking
  • Iodine tablets if you are under 40 years of age, pregnant, breast-feeding or have children at home (for use in the event of a nuclear incident, more information:

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