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What you should do in an emergency

The initial concern of the emergency services and the Council must be for those directly involved in any major emergency or disaster. Concern also extends to relatives and friends of casualties.

It is vital that those responding to the incident are allowed to complete their task quickly and safely, with priority given to rescue operations to minimise casualties and preserve emergency communications.

Updated reports will be provided by the media and via our website and social media channels. We would therefore ask the public to watch and listen to media reports of the incident without contacting the authorities, unless you have vital information which would affect the rescue and safety of those at the incident or disaster.

If you do have important information or feel that a relative or friend may be involved in the incident listen for details of specific contact channels which will be set up to provide information on the incident and contact numbers for those requiring further details.

Know what to do in an emergency

Create a simple home emergency plan which will allow you to take account of the circumstances and keep your family safe and aware.

To respond to emergencies it always helps to know what is happening. Sometimes this is not possible and therefore it is necessary for your plan to be sufficiently flexible to work when you are unsure what is taking place.

Read our Emergency Planning Handbook for advice on planning what to do. Also see our flood advice page for what to do specifically in a flood situation.

Deal with the important things first

Care for any injured but only if it is safe to do so, for example cut off power before helping someone suffering from electric shock. Do not go near any power cables that have been damaged.

If you smell gas, do not use matches as gas services may be damaged. Turn off at the main valve, open the windows and move everyone outside to an immediate safe location.

Check for fires and other hazards using appropriate gloves and equipment, for example domestic chemical or flammable liquid spills.

Check that your neighbours are OK, particularly the elderly and disabled

Put your emergency planning into action

Watch TV or listen to the radio for news, information, particularly instructions on what to do.

If you need to travel try to work out the safest route and tell other family members where you are going, how you are travelling and what route you are taking. Leave a note at your home saying where you have gone.

Wear protective or appropriate clothing particularly during extremes of weather.

If possible call your family contacts so that they know what is happening.

If not with you, make sure your pets are safe and secure.

Gather your emergency kit together and be ready to move to your identified meeting place(s) or if this is not possible, to a rest centre nominated by the emergency services or local authority.

Getting away from a disaster area

When moving in or from a dangerous area, take care and follow the instructions from the emergency services.

Stay together with your family or friends.

Do not enter fast flowing water where flooding is occurring.

If you are going to stay with family or friends try to inform a neighbour of your whereabouts.

Helping others in an emergency

​People with disabilities may need more time than others to take necessary action in an emergency, be ready to offer help.

Be aware that some people with hearing or sight difficulties may not recognise warnings. Offer help where needed.

Working animals​, such as guide dogs, may become confused during disasters, again offer help where needed.

Wheelchair ramps may become unusable seek other options for those requiring help.

Be ready to offer assistance to those disorientated or needing help with breathing or other ailments.

Recognise that some people may be suffering from emotional stress and try to direct them to someone who can help such as a local doctor, faith community representative, Salvation Army or British Red Cross Befriender.

Tune in to local radio stations to keep up to date with the latest information on the emergency

Useful phone numbers

  • Major emergencies - Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade: 999
  • Havering emergency number (Other emergencies): 01708 433999
  • Out of hours emergency repairs (council housing): 01708 756699
  • Gas (For gas escapes and other emergencies ring at any time): 0800 111 999
  • RSPCA emergencies: 0300 1234 999
  • Police non emergencies: 101
  • Water supply - (Essex and Suffolk Water): 0800 526 337
  • Sewage treatment and disposal (Thames Water​): 0800 714 614

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