It'll only take a few minutes, but it could be a lifesaver.

Look at the types of emergency listed on these pages. Any of them could disrupt your life and leave you isolated from immediate help.

But a household emergency plan can help you deal quickly and effectively with a stressful situation. Get your whole family involved in writing the plan, so they're prepared too. To compose your plan, ask yourselves a list of key questions, and record the answers.

Here's an example of what your plan could cover:

  • Where will we meet if we can't get into, or stay in our home
  • Who'll collect the children from school if we can't get there
  • Which neighbours should we check on
  • How do we turn off the gas, water and electricity
  • Who can we stay with if we're evacuated
  • Who can be an 'Emergency Friend', ready to collect medicine and supplies and act for us if we can't get out
  • What essential items should we have ready in an emergency 'grab bag'
  • Who'll look after our pets if we can't
  • Do we know how to tune to local radio stations
  • What items would we not want to lose eg: Documents including insurance, birth and marriage certificates or passports. Photographs. Furniture. A favourite toy or baby blanket
  • How can we protect these items
  • Lodging copies of documents with friends
  • Moving things upstairs
  • Storing items in waterproof or fireproof containers

Fill in your own household emergency plan on page 28 of the 'What should I do in an emergency' booklet, and keep it handy for reference.

Remember - no item of property is worth risking your life for.