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Simple steps to being prepared

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Here are our simple steps to being prepared:

Prepare a household emergency plan

Having a household emergency plan can help you deal quickly and effectively in a stressful situation. Involving the whole family in making the plan can help them prepare too. It doesn't need to be complicated; ask yourself and your family ‘what if’.

A plan could include information that will:

  • ensure your family know where to go if you can’t get home, or have to evacuate
  • arrange who will collect the children from school/nursery, if you are unable to get there
  • arrange where you could stay if you are evacuated
  • arrange who could collect shopping or medication if you have to stay at home
  • arrange who will look after your pets if you are not able to
  • arrange anything else you think is important for you and your family's needs

Put together your own emergency grab bag

This needn't be expensive; just a few basics will really help: 

  • a torch with spare batteries or windup torch
  • a radio with spare batteries or windup radio
  • a first aid kit
  • antibacterial hand gel
  • basic toiletries, sanitary supplies 
  • a note book and pencil
  • copies of your important documents and contacts 

Also think about what you might need if you have to stay indoors for a few days. This could be without lighting, heating or water. Consider putting a few items in a separate box; this could include:

  • enough tinned or dried food to last three days
  • bottled water
  • candles and matches
  • camping stove (this should only be used in a well ventilated room, with a carbon monoxide detector) 

Remember to check dates and regularly replace water.

Make sure you can easily add the following when it's needed:

  • spare clothes and blankets 
  • your mobile phone and charger

Get suitable insurance

Before an emergency has even occurred, it's best to think about ensuring that you can get your life back to normal as quickly, and as completely, as possible. Look at what your insurance really covers, and for how much or how long. Will it cover as much (or as little) as you want, and will it help you in meeting any temporary accommodation costs? Getting this right before the emergency occurs will really help when it occurs.

Put valuable documents and belongings upstairs or somewhere safe  

This seems so obvious for those who are in a flood risk area, but have you done this? It means that if a flood occurs, you are not rushing around to find those important documents or belongings like insurance policies, passports, car ownership information or any other critical documents that may be needed after the emergency. What about those photos or other belongings you want to keep safe? The same rule still applies.

This may not be possible if you live in a bungalow, so think of an alternative. This could be watertight containers or leaving copies with friends or family. 

To provide extra cover just in case your entire property is affected by something like fire, you could give photocopies of your important documents or insurance details to a friend or family member.

Back up important data on your computer

More and more of us are using computers to store memories, important documents and other important information that we may need to keep for many years. How often do you make copies of those crucial documents, your favourite music or photos?

There are many ways of backing up your valuable data; CD/DVD disks, memory sticks, USB drives or uploading your data to an internet based file storage or cloud storage. Use the one that suits you best and whatever you do, don’t just copy files to another location on your computer.

 
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Emergency planning