How well do you know your neighbours?


The rapid pace of modern day life doesn’t leave enough time to truly be neighbourly, and we are also often limited within our personal boundaries of privacy which is understandable. But there is also a need and a purpose to becoming neighbourly, the simple explanation being that the best chance of recovery after an emergency event is if there is a pre-established community network to support residents through the disaster.

Today’s world encounters emergencies and threats that come in countless forms such as natural events – like Storm Doris – which can knock down trees and block roads, all the way to floods and earthquakes. But disasters can also be of our own making, for example industrial incidents, riots, and terrorism. But let’s not forget that sometimes we can negatively impact the environment causing disasters to happen – for instance, earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings do. The list goes on!

On a daily basis so many incidents occur globally, but often we walk around clueless because in a world that is constantly connected we are unconnected from reality. Take a minute to imagine what your life would be without power and what you would do if you didn’t have access to mobile phones, computers, car sat-navs and the general niceties we take for granted. How resilient would you and your family and friends be?

If you can cope with not having electricity, external support and live entirely on your own unconnected them I truly commend you! However, if like most people you might struggle then never fear, everyone needs help every now and again and having a local resilient network can do just that! When watching the news of incidents unfolding I understand how easy it can be to think that our overstretched responding emergency agencies will come to your rescue immediately, but I am here to break the glass on that ideology because it is simply untrue. There are too few responders who may not always be able to stop and find you if everyone else in the area also needs help. By taking a few steps toward resilience you are not only helping yourself, you’re helping your local emergency services too!

So now you might be thinking “Well, where do I start?” Here are a few tips from our team of emergency planning officers:

Tip #1: Get to know your neighbours. Depending on the type of emergency your neighbours may become your first responders if they are able. For example, in the winter you can help by identifying those in the neighbourhood who are vulnerable and support them by doing simple things such as checking they have enough food if they are unable to go out into the cold. Similarly, if there is a fire and you and your neighbours are evacuated where will you go? Are there any local family relatives people can go to or a local community centre? No one will have all the skills and knowledge in an emergency but together your knowledge base is greater.

Tip #2: Have a communication plan. You can download our home emergency plan here  and follow the simple and easy steps to identify things such as your best fire escape route and a point of contact for your family and friends should you get separated in an incident.

Tip #3: Make a Grab Bag. Your emergency grab bag should hold items that would be essential if you had to leave your home at short notice. It should be small enough for anyone to carry and be kept in a safe place where everyone can easily access it. Items such as a copy of the home emergency plan, snacks, and copies of important documents ad prescriptions for regular medication are some of the items we recommend. For more recommendations visit our Grab Bag page.

If you have some top tips why not share them with tweeting or Instagram us @PreparedPics – and don’t forget to share them with your neighbours too!


Written By Heleena Chauhan