While many organisations will help in an emergency, individuals should be prepared to protect themselves and their property from the impact of a disaster. In a catastrophic emergency where bridges and roads are destroyed, you may have to rely on your own resources for some time.
Readiness is about knowing what you need to know and having what you need to have to be better prepared for an emergency.
Disruption to electricity can cause the following:
Loss of communication can be a scary time but it doesn't have to be if you are prepared for the following:
Keeping in contact with family
If your water supply is cut or the tap water is contaminated, be prepared to do the following:
Cooking / drinking
Everyone should learn how to turn off your home's water supply. It would also be wise to learn how to do this at work. Turning off the water will save water damage caused by broken pipes and will prevent any contaminated water getting into the hot water cylinder which may be your best supply of drinking water for a while.
To store bottled water, follow the steps below:
If storing store-bought water check the expiry date before use.
In a disaster, you may not be able to get to your doctor or pharmacy for several days - especially if you are evacuated from home. It is wise to ensure you never run low on essential medicines and don't forget to take them with you if you have to evacuate.
Visiting doctor / pharmacy
No emergency services available
If public announcements say don't flush your toilet - don't. What you flush may end up in someone else's home.
Until the system is fixed, a caravan toilet or covered bucket in the house, garage or shed should be used. Dig a deep hole in the garden to empty these into. Put a fly-proof cover over the hole.
Alternatively, you could make a privacy screen around a garden pit and use it as a toilet.
It may be some time before regular rubbish collection resumes. Bury bio-degradable rubbish in the garden, compost it or store it in well-sealed bags with other rubbish and keep the bags away from animals. Listen to your radio for details about collection.
If your house is damaged and you and your family are unable to remain in it, you will need to make alternative arrangements - you could think about the following:
If you have pets, you will want to look after them during and after a disaster. Keep extra pet food on hand - tinned or dry food is best as it keeps the longest. A pet carry cage will be invaluable if you have to leave your home in a hurry. If you cannot take your pets with you, leave them free inside your house so that they can move away from danger. Leave plenty of food and water and a dirt box for them. Place a note which is clearly visible for emergency workers, informing them what animals they will encounter and where you can be contacted.