West Berkshire Council

Preparing for Emergencies

Create a plan to prepare for an emergency situation

The chances of you experiencing a major incident or emergency are low. Nevertheless, they do happen within the Thames Valley. Emergencies may affect individuals, parts of a community or they may affect a wider area. They can happen at any time, so it's important to be prepared.

Preparing for an emergency means that you work out in advance how you would respond to an emergency of any type. This means taking into account the needs of your family, your job or business and your part in your local community. 

Your preparations could include making sure you have key information, medication, a phone charger and warm clothing to hand if you had to leave your home in an emergency. They could also include planning somewhere safe away from home or knowing about plans in your community to keep people safe in a wider area emergency.

The emergency services and the council will always have to prioritise the people in greatest need during an emergency, especially where life is in danger. This means that individuals and communities may initially need to respond themselves in order to cope with the situation.

Experience has shown that people who have spent time planning and preparing for this are better able to manage, and recover more quickly. 


Creating an Emergency Plan as an individual or family

The Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum's pdf icon Are You Ready? booklet [1Mb] provides some clear and practical advice to help you prepare for, and respond to, an emergency.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators to customers in need. Being a priority user means you will receive priority support in an emergency, advance notice of planned outages, and much more. 

You are eligible to sign up to the Priority Services Register and receive more support if you:

  • Have children under 5 years old
  • Are over 60 years old
  • Have special communication needs
  • Are disabled
  • Are electricity-dependent (such as for medical care)
  • Have a chronic illness
  • Have a short term medical condition

Suppliers and operators also recognise that people can be vulnerable because of life-changing events such as bereavement and recovery from hospital treatment.

Find out more and sign up through your power or water supplier. You can find their contact details on your energy bill, or if you don't have this to hand, visit the energy networks association (ena) website and type in your postcode to find out who you should contact.

Creating an Emergency Plan as a Community

A community doesn't have to mean something formal like a recognised group or an organisation.  It can also mean a group of people who are linked by a common bond, shared interests or simply because they live close to one another. It could mean you and your immediate neighbours, your street, your village or town, or even a group such as a football team, the Women's Institute (WI), a parish/town council or school.

We encourage all communities to think about what they'd do in an emergency and to develop a Community Emergency Plan. Your starting point is to consider which communities you belong to.

Use the doc icon Community Emergency Plan Template [541kb] to develop your community plan.

Once you've prepared your plan(s), or if you need further support creating one, contact the Joint Emergency Planning Unit who will be happy to support you and review your plan(s).

Creating an Emergency Plan as a Business

For information regarding how you can prepare your business for an emergency, please visit the Business Continuity webpage.


Additional Resources

It's important to make sure you have a contingency plan for the care of your pet(s) and livestock, in case you need to be evacuated. See our Pet Welfare During Emergencies webpage for more information.

The Thames Valley Local Resilience Forum Community Risk Register highlights potential hazards in our area which you should consider when creating your emergency plan(s).

Guidance on the GOV.UK website also helps people, businesses and communities to identify and prepare for the hazards and threats that may disrupt their lives.

Who To Contact