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Recovering after an emergency

Date updated: 17/05/2022

In the immediate aftermath

Account for your staff and help them contact their loved ones

People may become separated or be concerned about each other's welfare. Check the news to see if a telephone hotline has been opened as this will usually be the best way to trace any missing relatives or friends.

Consider how your HR department/employee assistance programme can help you (and the City of London Police) account for your members of staff and any visitors to your premises.

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. Advice on how to access areas that have been cordoned off will be made available via the Business Information Centre.

Think about how you will provide for the needs of any members of staff that might have been affected by the incident (for example: some might need help getting home or, if the weather is very cold, they might need something like a blanket to keep warm).

Find a place to carry on your business from

If you can't return to your property then you may need alternative temporary accommodation. Depending on the size of your business and the nature of your operations, a combination of remote working and alternative premises might be suitable.

The best option is to stay with friends or family in the local area. However, the City of London may open emergency rest centres for those people without alternative accommodation.

​If you are sending staff home or to alternative locations, make sure you make them aware of new dangers – additional hazards may have been created by the incident, for example falling debris from neighbouring buildings or structures that have become unsafe.

If people are returning to your premises, consider the following

  • If there is debris around your building – check the exterior of your property for cracks, and if any part of the building looks unsafe take adequate measures to protect your staff and passers-by. Seek advice from the City of London Corporation's District Surveyor immediately. Remember debris can be sharp or dangerous so wear protective clothing and footwear where required.
  • If you smell gas – open a window if you can and leave the property immediately. Call National Grid (0800 111 999) from a neighbouring business and remind your staff not to smoke or use any naked flames until you have been advised there is no leaking gas present.
  • If electrical appliances have become wet - turn off the electricity supply to the section of the building affected, make sure staff allow any wet appliances to dry out. It is advisable to have a qualified professional check them before turning them on.
  • If your water is discoloured, cloudy or smells - check with your water supply company before advising your staff that the water is safe for drinking (as it may be contaminated).
  • Look for signs of stress – being involved in an emergency can be mentally and emotionally difficult. The GOV.UK website has more advice on how you might feel, and what to do.
  • 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. These reactions can become evident some time after the event.

​Recovering from a major emergency can take many years – you may find it helpful to consider the following aspects of longer term recovery.

  • Join support groups – these are often set up by people involved in an incident so that they can share their experiences and feelings. They can be a useful way of dealing with stress, and gaining advice on how to deal with practical issues.
  • Mark anniversaries – whilst they can be a difficult time, you might like to consider how you wish to mark the anniversary of an event, either alone or with other people
  • Inquests and trials – as part of the recovery process it is important to understand as much as possible about the incident to prevent it happening again. You may be asked to attend an inquest or a trial. These may seem complicated but you can get lots of advice elsewhere online.