Get advice about major incidents and emergencies

The chance of you being caught up in a major emergency or disaster is low but they can happen. The following information should help you to be better prepared so you can protect yourself and others.

What is a major emergency?

Essentially a major emergency is something on a scale that needs special arrangements to deal with it. Such as:

  • Serious transport accidents (Plane, train, motorway pile-up)
  • Extreme weather
  • Major crime/terrorism/public disorder
  • Explosion/fire/industrial accident
  • Toxic chemical spillage/radioactive release
  • Shortages of essential supplies - Water, food, power
  • Infectious disease outbreak

The emergency services, local authority, health trusts, voluntary agencies and the utility companies all have co-ordinated emergency plans in place. The aim is to save life, contain the hazard, protect the public and maintain our day to day services, but that task is made much easier if the public also know what to do in an emergency.

Being prepared for a major emergency also means that you can deal more effectively with minor ones. In most situations you will either need to seek immediate shelter from the threat or hazard or to move right away from it, so it makes sense to have a plan to do both.

Further information about useful steps you can take beforehand is available in the Being Prepared for a Major Emergency document (PDF).

In an emergency, you can really help by understanding your role and knowing what to do. For advice and guidance, please refer to the following advice leaflets:

A multi-agency response

The response to an emergency usually involves a number of different organisations all of whom work closely together to co-ordinate an effective response.

Please note, in an emergency telephone 999

The following websites may provide useful help and advice during, and prior to, an emergency situation:

Flood learning resources

You can use the accompanying DVD to learn more about flooding and flood prevention:


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