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Home Office Press Releases: Preparing for Emergencies - What You Need to Know

Reference: 254/2004 - Date: 26 Jul 2004 11:45



All 25 million households in the UK will receive practical advice on how to prepare for a range of emergencies, with the nationwide distribution next month of a new public information booklet.

Called 'Preparing for Emergencies - what you need to know', the common sense, practical guidance on prevention and planning for situations including major accidents and terrorist attacks, has been written jointly by the Government and a wide range of experts including the emergency services, MI5, the Chief Medical Officer and the Emergency Planning Society.

The booklet has been developed following extensive research into what sort of advice the public would find useful.

The 22-page booklet, which will be delivered to every home in England, Scotland, Walesand Northern Ireland over the next few weeks, includes advice on:

# what to do in an emergency;

# coping with specific emergencies;

# basic first aid;

# how to prepare for an emergency; and

# how you can help prevent a terrorist attack.

It also gives examples of the steps that have been taken by Government and the ‘blue light’ services to protect the UK and ensure it is in the best possible position to react and respond to a range of possible emergencies, including acts of terrorism.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said:

“We have significantly increased the information we have made available to the public over the past three years, particularly through the Home Office, UK Resilience and MI5 websites. This booklet reflects another stage in that process of keeping people informed. It's not only about what they can do, but about what we as Government are doing to make the UK as safe a place as possible.

“Public safety and security is the number one concern for Government. The practical advice in this booklet will allow people to make sensible preparations that will help them in a range of emergencies, such as fires, as well as terrorist incidents.

“This is not in response to any specific or heightened threat to the UK but it is clear there has been an increasing wish from the public to have this information and advice drawn together and made easily available.

“The Government is working hard to ensure that we are as safe as we can be from people who would cause us harm. Public vigilance and co-operation can make a vital contribution and people should remain alert but not alarmed. Following the advice in this booklet will ensure we are better able to cope with any emergency.

“We will continue to review how best to give people the information they need, and this latest addition will mean that every household in the country has access to expert advice on common sense measures that could help them prevent, or better cope with, disasters.”

As well as being downloadable from a special website, the booklet will be available in a range of languages.

The booklet invites households to complete and keep to hand an emergency contact details sheet to include numbers such as the local police station and frequency of a local radio station to tune in to hear public safety information.

An awareness-raising campaign begins this evening, with the first screening of a television advertisement to alert viewers to the booklet.

Douglas Alexander, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:

“This booklet promotes clearer understanding of what to do in an emergency, bringing together advice in one practical guide that you can keep to hand at home. With this, people across the UK will be able to play their part in preventing emergencies and help deal with them. Much of the content is common sense, but it has saved lives in the past.

“Public safety is our absolute priority. We introduced the Civil Contingencies Bill, which will strengthen civil protection arrangements and have made massive investments to improve resilience. This updates longstanding legislation in relation to coping with emergencies, and builds on the major counter-terrorism legislation passed in the year 2000 and in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.

"This is about being prepared, but as we have always made clear, if a warning is necessary to protect public safety in the face of a specific and credible threat, we will issue one without hesitation along with information that will help the public respond effectively."

Notes to editors:

1. The booklet can be downloaded from http://www.preparingforemergencies.gov.uk and will be available in the following languages and formats: audio tape; large print; Braille, Bengali, Chinese, Arabic, Somali, French, Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati as well as English.

2. Bilingual versions will be delivered in Wales.

3. Booklets will be delivered to every household in the UK throughout August. A follow up advertising campaign will be launched at the end of the month giving details of where people can go to get their copy if it has not arrived, or get additional copies.

4. Useful contact numbers:

999 - in an emergency

0800 789 321 - the police anti-terrorist hotline, for anyone with tip-offs or confidential information about possible terrorist activity

0845 46 47 - NHS Direct for information or advice about health or first aid issues

020 7930 9000 - MI5 phoneline, if you know something that you think may be a threat to national security.

5. Useful information on emergency planning and security can be found on the following websites:

The Home Office: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/terrorism

UKResilience: http://www.ukresilience.gov.uk

The Security Service: http://www.mi5.gov.uk

Links to a wide range of stakeholder websites can be found on http://www.preparingforemergencies.gov.uk

6. Images of the production of the Preparing for Emergencies booklet can be downloaded for press use from: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/press/preparingforemergencies.html

Published: 26 Jul 2004

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