Recovering after an emergency for residents
In the immediate aftermath
- Contact your loved ones – You may have become separated from friends and family and may be concerned about their welfare. Check if a telephone hotline has been opened as this will usually be the best way to trace any missing relatives or friends.
- Stay safe – do not enter any areas where an emergency has taken place until the emergency services tell you it is safe to do so.
- Find a place to stay – if you can't return to your property, you may need alternative temporary accommodation. The best option is to stay with friends or family in the local area. The City of London may open emergency rest centres for those people without alternative accommodation.
Beware of new dangers – additional hazards may have been created by the incident.
- Debris - check the exterior of your property for cracks, and if any part of the building looks unstable leave immediately. Remember debris can be sharp or dangerous: be careful.
- If you smell gas - open a window, if you can, and leave the property immediately. Call National Grid on 0800 111 999 and follow their advice.
- Wet electrical - turn off the electricity at the fuse box, allow appliances to dry out and have a qualified professional check them before turning them on.
- If water is discoloured, cloudy or smells - check with your water supply company before drinking or using water to make baby formula or brush your teeth as it may be contaminated.
- Look for signs of stress - being involved in an emergency can be mentally and emotionally difficult.
- Help others - if you know of friends, family or neighbours who have particular vulnerabilities (either through age, ill health or disability) then consider how you could help them. It might be as simple as contacting their loved ones for them, or ensuring they have food and water.
- Pay particular attention to children - as they may feel especially insecure, confused and frightened even if they haven't been directly involved in an emergency.
Recovering from a major emergency can take many years. As part of the recovery process, you may find it helpful to consider joining support groups or you may be asked to attend an inquest or a trial. While it is important to understand as much as possible about the incident to prevent it happening again, this can be quite a traumatic experience.