Recovering from an emergency
What should I do immediately after an emergency?
- Let your loved ones know you are safe.
- Stay safe and avoid entering a dangerous area until the emergency services tell you it is safe to do so. It may not be possible to return to your home immediately and you may require temporary accommodation. The best option is to see if you can stay with any friends or relatives. However, Sutton Council has responsibilities for people made temporarily homeless in an emergency and may open a rest centre or provide alternative accommodation.
What should I do when returning home after an emergency?
Beware of new dangers which may be present in your home, created by the incident:
- If you smell gas - open a window if you can and leave the property immediately. Call National Grid (0800 111 999) and remember not to smoke or use any naked flames until it has been verified by your gas company.
- If there is debris - check the exterior of the property for cracks, and if any part of the building looks unstable leave immediately. Debris can be dangerous so wear protective clothing and footwear. Depending on who owns the property you live in, you will need to contact either your landlord, insurance company or housing association.
- If electrical appliances have been wet - turn off the electricity at the fuse box, allow appliances to dry out and have a qualified professional check them before turning them on.
- If your water is discoloured, cloudy or smells - check with your water supply company before drinking, using water to make baby formula or brush your teeth as it may be contaminated.
Contact the local authority or emergency services if you see any hazards to health and safety, such as damaged power lines, washed out roads, gas leaks, dead animals or chemical releases.
Call your insurance provider - take pictures of any damage which has occurred and keep records of repairs and cleaning costs, as this may help your insurance claim.
Stay healthy - recovery work can be exhausting. Make sure you drink plenty of water, eat well and get enough rest. Also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water especially if in contact with floodwater, which will likely have been contaminated.
For further information on what to do after an emergency has occurred, visit London Prepared.