#30days30ways UK – are you ready for an emergency?

#30days30waysuk is a national campaign that aims to spread emergency preparedness information, via social media, through the month of September.  We’ll be looking at a different theme each day and posting some of our top tips on this page, Facebook and Twitter @NorfolkPrepared.

Day 24 – Choose Well

Do you know what NHS Services are available to you?
By buying common medicines over the counter you help save vital NHS £££s which can be spent on life saving treatments.  If you are feeling unwell, there are a range of services available to you.  You don’t always need to go to see a GP or go to A&E.
If it’s not a 999 emergency, but you may need medical help fast then call 111.  111 is the 24/7 free NHS non-emergency number.  Do you know where your local pharmacist is? Your community pharmacist is highly trained and can offer good advice without an appointment.

Day 23 – Prepared Kids

Emergencies can leave kids feeling anxious and frightened.  Learn how to support them:

  • encourage dialogue,
  • answer questions,
  • be calm & find further support if needed.  Norfolk & Suffolk Foundaton Trust can offer specialist mental health treatment if required: https://bit.ly/2SjlVD7

Would your children know who to call, and what to do in an emergency if you weren’t there or couldn’t help?  Talk to them about 999 and show them how to contact your friends and family if needed.  Does your child know their postcode?  Being able to call 999 and the ability to give the emergency services your post code could help save a life.

Crowded places such as theme parks, the zoo and concerts are fun however it can be easy for children to get temporarily separated from you.  On arrival agreed a safe meeting place.

Day 22 – Cook Off

Do you know the different between best before and use by dates? Find out here: https://youtu.be/CDIpDupYPiY What if you had no access to mains services i.e. there is a power cut or the gas has to be switched off? What would you cook?

Day 21 – Power of Kindness

In a world where you can be anything; be kind to yourself and others.  It costs nothing to be kind and help others.  Have you considered how you could help during an emergency?  Why not look into becoming a British Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteer: http://bit.ly/CommunityReserveVolunteersBRC.

Day 20 – Shelter in Place

If an emergency happened near you, the Emergency Services may ask you to either go inside, stay inside and tune into local radio or TV or evacuate; either to friends & family or a designated place of safety known as a rest centre.  A rest centre is a place of safety identified by the Local Authority; it could be a village or school hall or a sports centre.

Day 19 – Cyber Safety

Cyber breaches can cost organisations ££millions.  A good starting point for being cyber safe is adopting the basic cyber-security measures in the 10 steps to cyber security: https://bit.ly/1OVOkch.  Here are some top tips for staying safe:

  • Protect your email by using a strong & separate password.  Cyber criminals can can use your email to access many of your personal accoutns leaving you vulnerable to identify fraud.
  • Install the latest apps & security updates.  Cyber criminals use weaknesses in software & apps to attack your devices.
  • Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screenlock, they offer an extra layer of security. Each time you unlock your device you’ll be asked for a pin or finger print meaning if someone gets hold of your device they can’t access the data without knowing the password.

Day 18 – Respect the Water

Do you live in Norfolk or plan in visiting the Coast or Broads for your holidays?  It’s important to have fun, but understand the dangers.

Nearly half of drowning victims had no intention of entering the water.  You could accidently fall into the water.

The sea may look inviting – do you know what a rip is?  They are especially powerful in larger surf, but never underestimate the power of any water.

If you do find yourself unexpectantly in the water #FloatToLive until the cold water shock passes.

The effect on the body of entering water 15C and below is often underestimated.  Average UK sea temperatures are just 12C, with Rivers colder even in the summer!

Day 17 – Safe Escape

Have you made a fire escape plan?  Working smoke alarms will warn you of a fire, but having an escape plan will help you and your family act quickly if there is a fire.  Find out how to make yours here:  https://bit.ly/2XWTxI2

Don’t forget to test your smoke alarm regularly, we suggest once a week!  Make sure your alarm is in the right place, not in the kitchen or bathroom, the best place is on the ceiling in a hallway.  If your home has more than one floor then put a smoke alarm on each landing.  If you have a hearing difficulty you can get a smoke alarm which uses strobe lighting and vibrating pads.

If you use oxygen at home make sure the equipment is stored out of direct sunlight, well ventilated, always dry and away from heat sources.
Having a good bedtime routine is really important, maybe you like to watch or read a before going to sleep?  Fires in the home aren’t limited to the day time, there are a number of checks you should carry out before going to sleep;
– close internal doors to stop fire spreading,
– unplug electrical appliances unless they are needed,
– don’t leave mobile phones or e-cigs charging overnight,
– check the oven is switched off & ensure candles & oil burners are out.

Day 16 – Gas Safety

You should ensure that any gas appliances in your home or business are checked annually; if you rent your home then your landlord has responsibilities to ensure maintenance and safety of any gas equipment and appliances.  If you smell gas, turn off at the main valve, open all windows and doors to ventilate and report the fault to 0800 111 999.

Always make sure that you only let the right people int your home, check the ID of a gas engineer before you let them in.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, get a CO alarm today to stop is sneaking up on your and your family! See what it takes for a gas engineer to keep you safe, warm and cooking on gas  https://bit.ly/2LvHTSG

Day 14 – First Aid

Eight in tend adults (that’s 85%) lack the knowledge and confidence to act if someone collapsed and was unresponsive and not breathing. Just one in 20 people would know what to do in a first aid emergency (according to British Red Cross research). The good news is we can change this! You never know when an emergency may occur and first aid skills are required. Why not learn first aid today, its quick to learn and just a few simple actions in an emergency situation can save someone’s life!

Day 13 – Safe At Night

Emergencies aren’t limited to the day time, they can happen at night.  Having a good bedtime routine is important, don’t forget to:

  • Close internal doors to stop fire spreading
  • Unplug electrical appliances unless they are needed
  • Don’t leave mobile phones and e-cigarettes charging overnight
  • Check the oven is switched off
  • Ensure candles and oil burners are out

Identify at least 2 escape routes out of your house and practice these in the dark. Keep your emergency kit somewhere you can grab it easily, and don’t forget about door & window keys.

Day 12 – Be Bright Be Seen

Are you making the journey to school or work this morning by foot or bicyle? Make sure you are ‘Be Bright Be Seen’. Most school and some work uniforms are dark in colour which can be hard to be seen on dull days. Make sure you wear something reflective such as an armband or sticker. You can find more information here: http://think.direct.gov.uk/education/early-years-and-primary/parents/7-to-11s/Be-bright-be-seen/

If you use a bicycle or motorcycle to get to work, or just for fun, one of the easiest ways to ensure you are seen by other road users is to wear high-visibility clothing. Sadly, on average, one cyclist is killed or seriously injured every hour on British roads.

Day 11 – Make The Right Call

Many of us will never need to telephone the Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance or Coastguard), but if you do here is a simple guide:

– Dial 999 from either a landline phone or mobile – it is free to dial 999

– A BT Operator will answer the call; you need to let them know which service you require

– The call will then be transferred to the local service. According to the area you are calling form, you will be transferred to that service.

– A Control Room Operator will answer the call. You must remain calm and speak clearly! Let them know what the emergency is and where it is. They may ask you some further questions, but do not panic.

– Stay on the line, even if you can hear sirens close by.

– Hang up when the Operator says it is time to do so.

If you are unable to make voice calls, you can text the Emergency Services from your mobile phone. You will need to register before you can use the service: text ‘register’ to 999. You will get a reply with further instructions.

Day 10 – Lets Talk

You are not alone. Wellbeing is important to us all, we want to get the most out of our lives, feel good and feel connected to other people. Wellbeing means feeling more than just happy and confident, it means feeling able to cope when things get tough in our lives.

There are a number of organisations in Norfolk who provide a range of support for people with common mental health & emotion issues:

  • Wellbeing Norfolk & Suffolk
  • Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust
  • Samaritans
  • MIND

If you are supporting someone who is managing a mental health problem, or perhaps you are suffering yourself, having access to the right information and support is vital.

Day 9 – Give Blood

Giving blood saves lives and is a lifeline for people needing emergency treatment. Over 6,000 blood donations are needed every day to treat patients across England.

Most people between the age of 17 and 65 can give blood! The criteria are as follows:

  • Are aged between 17 and 65
  • Are fit and healthy
  • Weigh over 50kg
  • Are over 70 and have given blood in the last two year,

Before giving blood you will have a health screening to make sure it is safe for you to donate. Once deemed safe you will then be able to give blood; don’t worry you shouldn’t feel any discomfort.

Log onto the @GiveBloodNHS website so see if you are able to donate: https://www.blood.co.uk/who-can-give-blood/

Day 8 – Grab Bag

It pays to be better prepared. Being asked to leave your home in a hurry can be daunting, especially if you don’t know when you’ll be able to go back. Could you easily and quickly find your ID, key documents, medication for you, your children or your pets?

An emergency kit is a box of essential items that you pre-prepare should you need to leave your home quickly. Your emergency kit could contain items such as: a tooth brush, essential contact details, spare keys, it should be personalised to you and your family.

Day 7 – Map it!

We have a duty, under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to assess risk and produce a Community Risk Register (CRR). The CRR is a document that outlines the risks that could have an impact on Norfolk. As an LRF, we bring together all of the relevant organisations and groups to collectively assess these risks and produce the risk assessments.

To assess the risks we take into account previous events, controls and mitigations currently in place, the national picture and professional judgement. We can then make a judgement as to whether a multi-agency emergency plan is required (for example for coastal flooding) or whether generic emergency principals will suffice. Each of the risks is given a rating from low through to very high, we then use these ratings to ensure we are planning and preparing for correct risks.

The Norfolk Community Risk Register highlights Coastal Flooding, Pandemic Flu and Cold & Snow as the highest risks for the County.

You can view the Community Risk Register at www.norfolkprepared.gov.uk

Day 6 – Viral Virus

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu. But what’s the best handwashing technique?

It should take as long as singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice.

We should be washing our hands after

  • Using the toilet
  • Handling raw foods like meat
  • Eating or handling ready to ear goof
  • Having contact with animals including pets.

It’s important to wash your hands to remove dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning or flu.

Most illnesses are spread by coming into contact with bugs on everyday surfaces such as door handles, keyboards or phones. Ensure food preparation surfaces are clear before use. Use separate chopping boards for uncooked i.e. raw and food that doesn’t need cooking.

Wipe down surfaces before and after use, using a disinfectant. Dry surfaces with disposable cloths & paper towels (only if recyclable) or a reusable cloth & disinfect or wash and 60C.

Day 5 – Run Hide Tell

Thankfully, firearms and weapon attacks in the UK are very rare, but the tragic events from around the world remind us of the need to be prepared. The current threat level for a terrorist incident in the UK is severe which means are attach is ‘highly likely’ and, however small the risk, it helps to be better prepared if you find yourself in this situation.

There are a number of things you can do to be better prepared:

  • Watch the following 4-minute video which sets out three key steps for keeping safe: https://bit.ly/2SiaM5C
  • Be aware of your surroundings when out and about
  • If you work in the security sector or own/run a business you can access security advice for crowded places here: https://bit.ly/2ohXjwo the guidance has been created by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office
  • Link in with your local Counter Terrorism Security Advisers who are available to work with businesses and the community to identify & assess sites that may be vulnerable to terrorist or extremist attack. You can find your local CTSA here: https://bit.ly/1VPZy1h
  • Include the Confidential Hotline number in your phone to report anything terrorist-related: 0800 789 321

Day 4 – Power Cuts

Power cuts are likely to affect us all at some point, but what can cause them? Weather such as severe winds, trees if not cut back can brush against the line, damage due to digging nearby or working near overhead cables or sometimes a planned outage to carry out work nearby. If you are affected by a power cut call 105, its free of charge and they’ll connect you to your local network provider where you can report the outage and gain more information.

It can be frustrating having no power; there are some things you can do now to prepare:

  • If you, or a relative, are reliant on necessary medical or electrical equipment make sure you sign up for the Priority Services Register
  • Have a battery powered or wind-up torch handy in your Emergency Kit
  • Don’t use candles, these can pose an additional fire risk
  • If you’re a business owner, consider investing in an Uninterruptable Power Supply Device (UPS) that will let you work through short power cuts and will shut down your computer & equipment safely
  • Think of where you could go if the outage is prolonged.

Each utility provider operates a Priority Services Register. If you tick the criteria for being included on the register, your provider will restore your power as a matter of urgency.

Don’t forget to think about pets. Some of our pets rely on power to keep their tanks operating such as tropical fish! Here are some tips:

  • During a power cut the temperature of the water in the tank will drop gradually. This speed depends on the surrounding temperature and the volume of water inside the tank.
  • For insulation, wrap the tank in blankets. If possible, fill hot water bottles with warm water and place them around the outside of the tank
  • Without power, the water will lose oxygen gradually. Fish suppliers recommend a cheap bubble-up filter that can run off a battery-powered air pump.
  • Fish suppliers recommend disturbing the water surface for five minutes each hour during a power cut, a good way is to fill a jug with tank water then pour it back in.

Day 3 – Flood Aware

Flooding can affect many of us, there are many different sources of floodwater such as heavy rain, rivers, the sea, surface water, blocked drains and burst pipes to name a few. Did you know 1 in 6 properties are at risk of flooding?

It’s easy to check your flooding risk by following this link: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk?_ga=2.216422750.95929634.1533299788-1038598204.1488893179

If you’ve checked your flood risk and identified your property is at risk of flooding, there are some simple things you can do:

  • Sign up to receive floor alerts and warnings from the Environment Agency. Ensure you understand what the different warnings mean.
  • Check your home insurance policies are adequate
  • Ensure seals around doors & windows are water tight
  • Invest in flood resilience measures
  • Complete a Household Emergency Plan and prepare an Emergency Kit
  • Take pictures of valuable items and copies of important documents – keep this in your Emergency Kit.

You can find more information on how to prepare for a flood here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuuGFPSZEvY

Day 2 – Weather Aware

You probably check the weather forecast every day, perhaps before you leave the house. Have you considered how you would be alerted of potential severe weather near you? Did you know you can sign up to receive weather warnings from the Met Office? You can receive them via email, SMS, or by downloading the Met Office App available on both Android and Apple.

Types of severe weather can include: thunder & lightning, rain, wind, fog, drought, snow and ice. The Met Office is responsible for issuing weather warnings which warn of impacts caused by severe weather. Warnings are provided up to seven days ahead for rain, thunderstorms, wind, snow, lightning, ice and fog.

Warnings are rated as either:

– Yellow – likely that the weather will cause some love level impacts.

– Amber – increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather which could potentially disrupt your plans with a possibility of travel delays.

– Red – dangerous weather is expected and, if you haven’t already, you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the severe weather. It is very likely that there will be a risk to life.There

You can find more details on Severe Weather Warnings here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/travel/driving-in-severe-weather

Day 1 – What Emergency?

Today is launch day for the #30days30waysuk campaign where we are going to be talking about all things emergency preparedness! Come and join in with the conversation – we’re on Facebook and Twitter @NorfolkPrepared and of course the website: www.norfolkprepared.gov.uk

Let’s get straight into it!

MYTH: I don’t need to worry about emergencies where I live, they never happen!

TRUTH: Most communities can be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime.

QUESTION: What does the term ‘emergency’ mean to you? We define it as an event or situation, with a range of serious consequences that require special arrangements (such as requesting assistance from neighbouring services) to be implemented by one or more emergency responders.

It’s not always the big bang and headline-grabbing events such as the London and Manchester attacks, power and water outages can happen any day and to anyone.

Being prepared for those smaller, more likely incidents will help you deal with those less likely, larger emergencies. Being prepared is as simple as step 1,2,3.

Step 1 – List your emergency contacts

Step 2 – Prepare an emergency kit

Step 3 – Plan with your household

Gemma Bailey#30days30ways UK – are you ready for an emergency?