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Boost your resilience - 30 ways

When people talk about emergencies our minds tend to turn to the London bombings, Indonesian tsunami or other global catastrophes.

But what if we told you that being prepared isn’t just for those headline-grabbing incidents? Power cuts, water main bursts, gas leaks, transport strikes, road closures...we experience a variety of inconveniences every day. Taking few steps to prepare will help not only with those 'everyday emergencies' but also with far less likely incidents.

You're probably more prepared than you realise, but these 30 tasks will help you boost your resilience.

Grenfell Tower Fire - Key Information

Information and support for people affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June is available from 

 

Challenges 1 - 10

Challenge 1

What emergencies have happened in your local area or which affected you? 

Information about risk of emergencies in London is published in the London Risk Register, and we'd like you to take a look and see if the emergencies you have experienced are included. Share a link to the document and let us know @LDN_prepared what experience you've had.

London has a rich history of emergencies, and recently it was the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Take a look at our blog which looks at why it's still relevant today.

Challenge 2 

Pack, update or check, your grab bag. No idea what we're talking about? Read on...

What if you had 15 minutes notice to leave your home, and didn't know when you'd be able to return. What would you take with you?

Could you easily and quickly find your ID, key documents, medication and charger for your phone? What about sturdy shoes, a change of clothing and items for your children and/or pets? Mementos, valuables, other things you couldn't live without? All whilst trying to stay calm and find out what's happening.

Having some essential items packed and ready to pick up in a hurry could help reduce the stress and disruption that an emergency can cause. What other items would you include in your grab bag?

Challenge 3 

Around half of households in London have at least one car (although Outer London Boroughs have higher ownership levels) so it's important to think about being prepared whilst you're in the car

  1. If you have a break-down, stop in as safe a place as possible, ideally off the carriageway and get out of the vehicle (ideally through doors furthest from the traffic) and get to a safe place. 
  2. Call for assistance - if there is a roadside emergency phone use that rather than a mobile as the control room can identify exactly where you are and send help more easily 
  3. Be extremely careful if you decide to attempt repairs yourself, especially on the offside nearest to the traffic 
  4. Keep a few essential items in the boot of your car in case of an extended wait for assistance. What you need depends on the season, but always have a bottle of water just in case! 

Challenge 4

Lots of children walk to school, many unsupervised, so ensuring they understand road safety for pedestrians is vital.

Something which can help make children, and all pedestrians, safer is making sure drivers can see you. Hi-visibility jackets with reflective strips are a good idea, but even just a brightly coloured coat (or those light up shoes!) can help you to Be Bright, Be Seen

Challenge 5

In public spaces and workplaces there are often routine tests of fire alarms and evacuation procedures, but what if a fire happens whilst you're at home? Have you thought about how you would get out safely?

The best route is normally the one you use on a daily basis, but you should have a backup in case that route is blocked.

Complete this London Fire Brigade questionnaire for some tips on home fire safety. You can also share the questionnaire with friends and family, especially anyone who might be more vulnerable.

Challenge 6

Would you know what to do in a powercut? Research shows that 72% of people don't know who to contact. (Hint: it's not the company that you pay your electricity bill to).

In September 2016 the electricity industry launched a new three digit number, 105, to help making contacting them easier. Whether your dial from a landline or a mobile, calls to 105 are free! Find out more at powercut105.com 

How would you cope in a powercut? Here's some conversation starters for your family or flatmates. 

  • What alternatives do you have for things like heating, lighting and cooking? For example, have you got a supply of food items that don't require electricity to prepare?

  • How would you keep your mobile phone battery charged?

  • How could you get information on what's happening and how would you stay in touch with each other?

Challenge 7

Even if you have a 'grab bag' and are ready to evacuate your home quickly it might sometimes be safer to stay inside, a process which is known as shelter-in-place (or occasionally 'invacuation').

Whether it's a plume of smoke from a large fire or a spill of a dangerous substance, getting inside, closing doors and windows, and staying informed can be key steps in staying safe. We describe this as Go In, Stay In, Tune In

Most situations are thankfully resolved quickly, but have you thought about being prepared at home, especially if for some reason you couldn't safely leave?

Challenge 8

One reason we love to talk about the weather is that it's always changing; there's never a dull moment! Although it's gloriously sunny at the moment, it will cloud over later today, and then there's potential for showers later in the week. As we move into autumn and winter we can expect cooler and wetter conditions; sometimes the weather can result in travel disruption, flooding or a range of other issues.

Take a look at this Met Office advice on what to do in weather related emergencies.

We work with emergency responders to ensure they have plans to respond to adverse weather events, but by taking some simple steps (such as securing garden furniture before a storm or repairing broken roof tiles) yourself you can keep yourself and others safe, and reduce the damage that weather events can cause.

Challenge 9 

Unsurprisingly, we at London Prepared love a disaster movie! Hollywood blockbusters seem to like showing London landmarks in various states of ruin.

Whilst they're entertaining, we should remember that these movies are not always realistic! However, they do provide depictions of potential scenarios that we could face, and perhaps they encourage people think about thir own preparedness. 

Settle down with your favourite disaster movie and share your thoughts with us @LDN_prepared on how you would respond in the situation depicted. 

Challenge 10

The internet can be great, and 86 percent of adults in the UK use it, but it is not risk free. Staying safe online involves more than just having strong passwords...but that is a very good place to start! 

Take a look at these tips from Cyber Streetwise and make sure that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, your family and business against online threats. Share a tip with your followers on social media to help spread the message. 

Remember, the risks online are constantly evolving, so put 18 October in your diary and make sure on Stay Safe Online Day you run through these checks again. 

Challenges 11 - 20

Challenge 11

Respect The Water - take the RNLI challenge and share on Facebook. 

In the UK, around 190 people per year drown in open water. Making sure that you understand the basic principles of water safety, and knowledge of the hazards, can increase enjoyment of open water and significantly reduce the number of incidents that occur each year.

Challenge 12

The Metropolitan Police encourage everybody to look out for unusual activities or behaviours which strikes you out of place. It’s probably nothing but… if you see or hear anything that could be terrorist-related trust your instincts and call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Recent events around the world sadly remind us of the need for vigilence to terrorist threats. Thankfully, firearms and weapons attacks are extremely rare, but there is some simple information developed by Police and security services to help you to stay safe.

Watch the Stay Safe video at work and dicuss the Run Hide Tell message with your colleagues. 

Challenge 13

Smoke alarms provide early warning and alloow extra time to escape if there is a fire in your home.

The majority of fire fatalities are not caused by burns but by the inhalation of hot toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. This gas is odourless, tasteless and colourless so the best way of protecting yourself is to fit a carbon monoxide detector.

Both types of alarm are affordable, easy to install and available from DIY shops and most high street supermarkets. Alternative products for people with sensory impairments are available.

If you live in a private rented property then since October 2015 your landlord is required to

  • intall a smoke alarm on each storey of your property
  • install a carbon monoxide detector and
  • conduct a test of the alarms at the start of each tenancy

Post a selfie of you testing your alarm and complete this 10 minute survey from University of Greenwich to help them make emergency exit signage more effective.

Challenge 14

Emergencies can happen at any time of the year, day or night. London Fire Brigade have produced a bedtime routine which should help reduce the risks of a fire at home during the night.

As the nights start to get darker there are a couple of simple actions you can take so if you do have to leave your home in the middle of the night you're more prepared. Keeping the following items close at hand means you'll be able to leave your house quicker.

  • A (preferably) wind up torch
  • A sturdy pair of shoes
  • Your house keys
  • And don't forget a dressing gown or warm jumper

If you're guilty of charging your phone underneath your pillow at night, please share the message to keep safe at night

Challenge 15

Around 40 percent of British homes have at least one pet (in London cats are the most popular, present in around 12% of London homes).

In 2014, colleagues in the City of London Corporation won an RSPCA contingency planning award for their arrangements to support animals in emergencies, but have you thought about how you would continue to look after your pets in an emergency? Here's some thoughts to get you started

  1. Microchipped pets are easier to reunite with their owners if separated (plus, from April 2016 it was compulsory for dogs to be microchipped)
  2. Put a pet sticker in your front window so responders know a pet might be inside
  3. Get to know your pets favourite hiding places
  4. Carry a picture of your pet with you and make sure it captures their unique markings
  5. Invest in a sturdy pet carrier and comfortable harness
  6. Create an emergency kit for your kitty (or other pets!) with a small supply of food and water, medication and familiar toys

Challenge 16

More than three quarters of us have a smartphone; gadgets which can be really useful in an emergency. We're used to using features such as access social media or the internet and transport apps like City Mapper.

Those features would be useful in an emergency, however, there is a growing range of specifically designed apps for use in an emergency (provided your battery is charged of course!).

This task is split into two parts

  • We want as many people as possible to download the British Red Cross app which provides alert messages and practical advice.
  • We also want anyone who works in the emergency response community to download the JESIP app which provides useful reminders of key interoperability principles for responders at the scene of an incident.

Do you use any other apps which you think would be useful in an emergency?

Challenge 17

Would you know what to do if you found someone unconscious? 

The 999 call operators can provide advice over the phone before help arrives, including talking you through putting someone in the recovery position

Having a basic knowledge of first aid could help you save someone's life. Take a look at this first aid advice from St John Ambulance, and to check that you've got a fully stocked (and in date) first aid kit at home. 

Challenge 18

One in every five minutes spent online is spent on social networking. The internet provides interactive, two-way communication, making information widely available; features which are invaluable in the event of an emergency. 

Social networks have capitalised on this by building features such as Facebook Safety Check

Register for Twitter Alerts from one of these organisations to receive emergency information directly from emergency responders. You can then be sure that you're getting accurate and official updates to supplement other information sources. 

Challenge 19

Emergencies can affect your health (for instance in being a casualty in a motorway accident or contracting the flu pandemic virus), but your wellbeing (meaning your physical, behavioral, social and mental health) can also be a key factor in determining how resilient you are. Stress from incidents can also affect our metal health; support and guidance is available from charities like Mind to help you.

People in England are healthier and are living longer than ever before. People between the ages of 40 and 79 are invited to an NHS Health Check every 5 years to ensure health conditions can be recognised early and appropriate support can be provided.

You can also take a look at this video to find out how the Mayor of London is helping tackle health inequalities to help everyone lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

See if you or a relative qualifies for free seasonal flu vaccinations.

Challenge 20

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Handwashing with soap removes bugs which helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, or mouth without realising, allowing germs to get into the body and make us sick
  • Unwashed hands can spread germs to foods and drinks where they might be able to multiply make us sick
  • Unwashed hands can transfer germs to objects, like handrails, table tops or toys, where they can be picked up by another person

We want you to raise a hand for hand hygiene - share this video on social media

Challenges 21 - 30

Challenge 21

Every year since 1981, the 21st September has been International Day of Peace

The theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Around the world, managing the risk of disasters and emergencies is a key factor in ensuring sustainable development. 

We don't tolerate our differences in London, we celebrate them - share the #LondonIsOpen video with your friends. 

Challenge 22

One of our team has been conducting extensive research (in his own time) into the zombie apocalypse. All evidence at this stage points to other risks being far more likely, however the impact of a zombie apocalypse would be catastrophic.

The good news is that all of the tasks we've shared so far are equally as useful in a zombie apocalypse as they would be in a real emergency!

Popular movies and TV shows, like The Walking Dead, often show people getting injured in an attempt to get away from the hoarde. Could you treat cuts and grazes so you could get to a place of safety?

Take a look at this first aid advice from St John Ambulance for treating cuts and grazes

Challenge 23

Did you know there are more than half a million cases of food poisioning every year in the UK?

It can be an unpleasant illness, but by handling, storing and cooking food correctly you can dramatuically reduce your risk.

Having a well stocked cupboard can be helpful in an emergency, but we want you to balance this with trying to reduce your food waste. Our friends at Recycle for London have got some great tips on reducing your food waste.

Arrange a 'date night' and check through your cupboards and freezer for any out of date food. If you need help on the difference between 'use by' and 'best before' this Food Standards Agency video should help clear things up.

Challenge 24

When an emergency occurs members of the public often come together to help each other.

One step in being prepared involves knowing your neighbors and participating in your community both in person, and increasingly, online. 

Your neighborhood networks can be important in an emergency too. Your task today is to consider the connections you already have—your yoga studio, spiritual group, friends in the neighborhood, book clubs, parent teacher associations—have you thought about how you could band together if something happens?

Safer Neighbourhood Boards in every London Borough help responders and communities work together to make sure your views can influence a wide range of community safety decisions

Tell us the ways your community has decided to work together in case of an emergency.

Challenge 25

Earlier we asked you to check your cupboards for out of date food items. We're extending that challenge to your medicine cabinet

Every year millions of pounds are wasted on unused medicines, but by thinking senibly about what medicine your require, and understanding why medicines have expiry dates and how to properly dispose of them you can help reduce waste. 

As well as your own cabinet, we want you to remind elderly relatives or neighbours to check their medicines are in date. 

Challenge 26

999 is the world's oldest emergency telephone number. It was initially introduced in 1937 to a small area around Oxford Circus following the deaths of five women at a house fire on Wimpole Street, Marylebone.

The emergency services handle thousands of 999 calls every day, with more than 60 percent of calls now coming from mobile phones.

However, location information from mobile devices can be imprecise, narrowing the location of the call to within a few square kilometres. The quicker your location is confirmed the quicker help will be able to reach you.

It's really important that we all understand how and when to use 999 properly, so read these tips from the Metropolitan Police Service and London Ambulance Service.

Challenge 27

With the weather getting colder it’s even more important to choose well, as it’s a time when all NHS services are under extra pressure.

Here's a couple of alternatives to calling 999 or attending a hospital emergency department:

  • Self-care is often the best choice for very minor illnesses and injuries. Find out how to treat a range of common winter illnesses at home.
  • Local pharmacists can provide confidential advice and treatment, including information about common conditions such as minor infections, aches, allergies and skin conditions.
  • The NHS 111 number is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free and you should call if you urgently need medical help but it's not a life-threatening situation
  • Your GP has experience of dealing with all types of medical problems and has your medical records to hand and is often a better choice than a busy hospital department. Out of hours GP services are available when your surgery is closed.

Consider your own alternatives to going straight to A&E. Making sure that you have contact details for your doctor's surgery stored in your mobile phone can make tracking the number down when you need it much easier.

Challenge 28

More than 300,000 homes and businesses in London are at risk of flooding, making it one of the top priority emergency risks.

Even relatively minor floods can cause lots of damage to your property, but checking your risk and planning ahead can help reduce the impact. Find out if your house is at risk of flooding, and if it is sign up for warnings so you can be better informed.

If your home is in a flood risk area then it's worth making sure now that you have adequate insurance, and if you're interested take a look at the Flood Re scheme which helps the insurance industry offer affordable insurance to everyone in eligible properties prone to flooding.

Challenge 29

Severe weather can cause disruption to transport, communications and electricity, but by taking a few simple steps, you can weather the weather safety.

Keeping an eye on the forecast is a great place to start. The easiest way to stay a step ahead is with the Met Office smartphone app. As well as personalised forecasts you can aslo recieve Severe Weather warnings for snow, strong winds, ice, fog and rain.

Download the app or set the Met Office Severe Weather Warning page as a favourite or bookmark in your browser.

Challenge 30

There is just one more task left...pledge to carry on taking small steps to be even better prepared for all kinds of emergencies. Sharing your activities on social media or taking about them in the office, at school or at home might just help someone else to be prepared too.

Don't forget to share your activity and questions with us on Twitter or have a browse of the London Prepared website

Find out more about 30 days 30 ways challenge

What is 30 Days 30 Ways UK?

A month long social game to encourage people to prepare for emergencies.

Who can take part?

Anyone and everyone! Emergencies can affect everybody, so it's important that we all take steps to consider our preparedness.

If you're on social media then even better - even if you just share the daily challenge with friends and followers you're helping spread the word. Use the #30Days30WaysUK hashtag to allow us to follow and interact with your posts.

How do I take part?

Look out for a simple task each day throughout September - the easiest way is to follow the 30 Days 30 Ways hashtag.

Who is behind 30 Days 30 ways?

The 30 Days 30 Ways concept was orginally developed by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency in Vancouver, Washington and is in its 6th year.

Northamptonshire County Council are the brains behind the UK campaign, which is in its second year. We're supporting them and would like to see lots of Londoners take part.

Where can I find more information about preparing for emergencies in London?

You're already in the best place!

Our website provides information on key risks to be aware of, advice and guidance on preparing yourself, your home and your business, and links to download London's Emergency Plans which set out how emergency responders have planned to manage incidents.