Specific hazards or events

Our plans and responses to emergencies are flexible enough to deal with a broad range of incidents. The majority of our services, along with any specific services such as rest centres, will deal effectively with emergency events.


Fire is a key risk to most of us and can have a devastating effect on property and people. It's everyone's responsibility to prevent fires from starting.

Fires occur in varying degrees of severity and, when fire occurs, we may be required to provide a broad range of services such as:

  • structural analysis
  • building repair
  • setting up of a rest centre or temporary rehousing

Make sure you have a working fire alarm installed in your property and test it regularly. See the London Fire Brigade website for further fire safety advice and tips. You can also request free home fire safety checks from your local Fire and Rescue Service.


The Environment Agency operates a flood warning system, giving information to:

  • the public
  • media
  • emergency services
  • local authorities

Staff members use the latest available technology to monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions 24 hours a day. They use this information to forecast the possibility of flooding.

If flooding is forecasted, warnings are issued using a set of easily recognisable codes:

  • flood alert - flooding is possible, be prepared
  • flood warning - flooding is expected, immediate action required
  • severe flood warning - severe flooding, danger to life

You can find out if your local area is at risk of flooding by contacting the Environment Agency's 24 hour Floodline number on 0845 988 1188 or by visiting the Environment Agency website. If you're at risk, you can register for free-to-receive flood warning messages by phone, text, email, fax or pager.

Additionally, the Environment Agency issues flood warnings through its:

  • website
  • television weather bulletins
  • local radio weather and travel reports

You can also contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188 to listen to recorded flood warning information or speak to an operator for general information and advice 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately this worrying time doesn't end when the flood water goes down. Your home will need to be cleaned, disinfected, repaired and fully dried out. This can take time and you may have to live in temporary accommodation for a while.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Get their approval before arranging any clean up or repairs. They may appoint their own builders. If you've moved into temporary accommodation, make sure they have your new contact details. Beware of bogus tradesmen taking advantage of the situation.

If you need repair work carried out, get quotes from several firms or recommendations from friends or neighbours. Check out the Environment Agency website for what to do after a flood and for some advice on flood proofing your property.

Utility failures

Disruption to your power and water supplies can be frustrating and troublesome, especially over a prolonged period. These could be as a direct result of another incident in the area such as a fire or a burst water main.

In an emergency, your electricity, gas or water supplier should keep you informed about service disruptions. They can also advise you on when your services are likely to return to normal.

Thames Water and UK Power Networks offer services to support vulnerable people in the event of a disruption. It's possible that you or someone you know could qualify and benefit from these schemes.

There are simple steps you can take to prepare for any utility failures. These will help keep you and your family safe and minimise the impact of a power or water outage on your daily activities.

There are various weather conditions throughout the year that can affect your daily activities. Local and national weather reports should inform you of any severe or hazardous weather affecting your area. Follow the advice given to protect you and your family from harm.

Weather in winter can cause severe disruptions especially if there's prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures. Snow and icy roads are hazardous for both motorists and pedestrians. Drivers should take extra care of black ice on the roads, which isn't always visible.

Severe gales could also be a problem during the winter months. High winds can cause damage to your property from loose debris or result in building collapse. Make sure any loose fittings are securely fastened and lock doors and windows. Stay indoors if possible and avoid driving in such windy conditions.

Hot summer months can lead to heat waves and droughts which can have adverse effects on your health. Make sure you keep hydrated and avoid being out in the sun during the hottest part of the day. Hosepipe bans and other measures may be introduced if water supplies are becoming depleted.

Other severe weather conditions include dense fog, heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning.

More information about severe weather and advice on how to stay safe can be found on the Met Office website.

Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) incidents

A chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident requires the correct response arrangements. We'll support any response by the emergency services, and provide its normal emergency assistance as and when required.

More information can be found on the Health Protection Agency website.

Page last updated: 18 August 2017