How do we define an emergency?
An emergency is a situation where we no longer have access to the services or functions we normally depend upon.
- No electricity for several days
- No mobile network services
- No running water or the water is contaminated
- Roads are blocked preventing you from leaving home
- Shops are emptied of the goods you need
- You must wait for help because many others are in the same situation
There may be many causes of emergencies but the most common include heavy rain, strong winds or technical problems. Such situations may have serious consequences for society and for you and your family.
We use electricity for heating, lighting, cooking, charging electronic devices and watching TV. We maintain contact with each other by phone and the internet. We stop at the shops for food on our way home from work. An emergency situation affects many people at the same time, forcing us to change our daily routines.
Take responsibility for yourself
You will be better prepared if you plan ahead and consider how an emergency situation would affect you, your family and others near you.
Consider the following:
- What type of emergencies might affect you?
- How would such emergencies affect you?
- How will you be alerted to an emergency situation and how will you get information about what is happening?
- How will you manage on your own for a couple of days?
- What things can you not do without each day (e.g. medicines, assistive aids) and are there any good alternatives?
- Is there anyone who depends on your help, such as family, parents, neighbours, friends or pets?
- How can you help others?
- What should you do if you must evacuate?
Take simple measures at home
In an emergency it is a good idea to have water and torches available.
With a few simple measures you and your family should be able to manage on your own for at least three days. Much of what you need may already be in your household.
Here are some basic needs that must be met during the first few days of an emergency:
- hygiene and sanitary products
- information during an emergency
If there is no running water, you will not be able to use the toilet. You must then prepare an emergency toilet.
The more prepared you are the more you can help people around you. During an emergency many people will require extra support and assistance. Think about who you know who might need a helping hand.
How you can help others
Many people will need help in an emergency situation and assistance must first be given to those who need it most.
By preparing yourself for an emergency you are helping to ensure that the people who need help the most will be prioritised.
In addition to taking care of yourself and your family, think about who you know who might need a helping hand and consider what you could do to help.