Toggle menu

Creating an Emergency Plan

Create a plan to prepare for an emergency situation.

On this page:

Why have an emergency plan?

The chances of you experiencing a major incident or emergency are low, but they do happen. Emergencies may affect individuals, parts of a community or they may affect a wider area. They can happen at any time, so it's important to be prepared.

Preparing for an emergency means that you work out in advance how you would respond to an emergency of any type. This means taking into account the needs of your family, your job or business and your part in your local community. 

Your preparations could include making sure you have key information, medication, a phone charger and warm clothing to hand if you had to leave your home in an emergency. They could also include planning somewhere safe away from home or knowing about plans in your community to keep people safe in a wider area emergency.

The emergency services and the council will always have to prioritise the people in greatest need during an emergency, especially where life is in danger. This means that individuals and communities may initially need to respond themselves in order to cope with the situation. A good rule of thumb is to be self-sufficient so that you can take care of yourself and others for 72 hours.

Experience has shown that people who have spent time planning and preparing for this are better able to manage, and recover more quickly.

Creating an individual or family emergency plan

The Icon for pdf Are You Ready? booklet [1MB]  provides some clear and practical advice to help you prepare for, and respond to, an emergency. The personal flood plan on GOV.UK also provides a good template to complete.

It won't take long, but could be a lifesaver. A plan can help you deal quickly and effectively with a stressful situation. Get your whole family or household involved in writing the plan so they're prepared too. Here are some tips on what to think about and include in your plan:

  • escape routes out of the home
  • find out what your home insurance policy covers you for
  • memorise ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers
  • rendezvous point if you can't get into the home
  • who will collect the children from school if you can't get there
  • which neighbours should you check on
  • how to turn off the gas, water and electricity
  • who can you stay with if you're evacuated
  • details of any medication, treatment, mobility, or caring needs
  • who can be an 'emergency friend', ready to collect medicine and supplies and act for you if you can't get out
  • create an emergency 'grab bag'
  • how to tune in to local radio stations
  • what items would you not want to lose (for example, documents, including insurance, birth and marriage certificates or passports; photographs; a favourite toy or baby blanket)
  • how can you protect these items (keeping copies of documents with friends; moving things upstairs; storing items in waterproof and fireproof containers)

Remember your pets in an emergency and make sure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet(s) and livestock, in case you need to be evacuated. See our Animal Welfare During Emergencies page for more information.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to customers in need. Being a priority user means you will receive priority support in an emergency, advance notice of planned outages, and much more. 

You are eligible to sign up to the Priority Services Register and receive more support if you:

  • Have children under 5 years old
  • Are over 60 years old
  • Have special communication needs
  • Are disabled
  • Are electricity-dependent (such as for medical care)
  • Have a chronic illness
  • Have a short term medical condition

Suppliers and operators also recognise that people can be vulnerable because of life-changing events such as bereavement and recovery from hospital treatment.

You can sign up online:

You can also find supplier contact details on your energy or water bills. If you don't have this to hand, you can visit the energy networks association (ena) website and type in your postcode to find out who you should contact.

Creating a Community Emergency Plan

A community doesn't have to mean something formal like a recognised group or an organisation. It can also mean a group of people who are linked by a common bond, shared interests or simply because they live close to one another. It could mean you and your immediate neighbours, your street, your village or town, or even a group such as a football team, the Women's Institute (WI), a parish/town council or school.

We encourage all communities to think about what they'd do in an emergency and to develop a Community Emergency Plan. Have a look at Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum's community preparedness page for more information, such as a plan guide, toolkit and template.

Creating a Business Emergency Plan

For information regarding how you can prepare your business for an emergency, please visit our Business Continuity page.


Additional Resources

The Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum Community Risk Register highlights potential hazards in our area which you should consider when creating your emergency plan(s).

You can also find guidance on the GOV.UK website for individuals, businesses and communities, to help identify and prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt your life.

You can also visit the following external websites:

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email