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Recommendations to citizens in emergency situations Printable version

Last update: 06.04.2020

What should you do first and foremost in emergency situation?

What to do in an emergency in the first place?

1. Stay calm

Think about your actions and do not take rash steps. Gather your thoughts and think about your next steps.

2. Make a personal response plan

Familiarise yourself with your area of residence, find out what disasters happen here regularly and draw up an emergency plan in the most general terms. Then in a real emergency you will only have to make adjustments to it, which are necessary at the moment.

3. Avoid the "domino principle"

Don't try to make things as clear as a bell and paint it in trifles (leave it to the paranoid). Your plan should contain the most common things:

  • Where you'll hide in case of danger?
  • How are you going to evacuate if you can't stay where you are?
  • What other escape routes are there if the first one is blocked?­
  • How will you evacuate? By car, boat or otherwise? What do you do if the car breaks down at the wrong time?
  • What kind of things you should have at hand if you have to hide in a house or other shelter?
  • What kind of stuff you're taking with you when you evacuate?

These six points are usually enough to give you an idea of the actions you need to take and to make up a set of things you need to do.

4. Prepare the Essential Supply Kit (preferably two sets)

  • First aid kit.
  • Canned food in cans and drinking water in plastic bottles (you can also have a can of coffee and a pack of tea, a box of salt).
  • Transistor receiver and flashlight.
  • Spare battery pack for receiver and flashlight.
  • Matches in a sealed box, a lighter, paper in case of a fire.
  • Tools and cutlery - at least a folding knife, spoons, forks, two or three bowls and mugs, a can opener, a light tourist axe.
  • Drugs used by family members for medical reasons on a regular basis (unless the instructions require them to be kept in the refrigerator).

Another bag with such a set should be stored in the trunk of the car.

Family documents and money should be kept in a certain place that is easily accessible to you. 

Determine what kind of clothes you may need and prepare a set of clothes and shoes for each family member in case of an emergency - waterproof clothes and shoes for summer, warm for winter. It would be good to have a tent and sleeping bags. 

5. Don't take anything extra.

But remember, though: It is better to take more food, potable water and medicines, two-three complete sets of the first necessity, than to carry a junk which will appear not so necessary in extreme conditions.

6. Beforehand, prepare the place for promptly picking up and storing the valuables and memorabilia that you will not take along when evacuating

Let’s suppose, there are things in the house that are of great value to their owners, for instance, family memorabilia, however, it would be unreasonable to burden yourself with them. What shall you do?
You should have a hermetic container to be able to promptly put such things there and then hope that these things will survive the calamity. However, too long handling the property in emergency situations while as fast as possible evacuation is needed is in most cases the direct cause of injuries and death of people. The soundest decision will be to take primary necessity things and forget about all the rest. Many families keep the things that are real memorabilia whose loss would be a real catastrophe to such families. Yet, as a rule, these are things stored in cabinets and taken out occasionally to get an eyeful. If you are seriously afraid of losing them in disaster situation, then better put them into a hermetic metal box instead of keeping in cabinet. If you live in a rural house then it would be better for such box to be kept in the cellar: in emergency situation this would be a most reliable place where it has more chances to survive till you return.


7. Be ready to receive alarm signals

Get ready for that as soon as you receive the first warnings. This will be a monotonous howl lasting without intervals for three to five minutes. It means that all people should switch on the radio or TV and tune to the local wave so that to receive announcements of what is happening. 


8. Itemize your personal plan for actions in the threatening emergency situation and check the primary necessity set

In following the news, scroll in your mind your personal plan for emergency respond and imagine how it can work in the situation announced. At the same time, check the completeness of your primary necessity set and think what other things might be needed.
If mass media broadcast instructions from emergency service then follow those instructions and coordinate your own plan with them.


9. Upon receiving the alarm information, do not overload the communication lines

If you have telephone, try to not call your relatives, friends and acquaintances in emergency situation. If everyone tries not to be one of thousands people overloading telephone lines then thousand of other people will avoid the fate of being buried as casualties.

In emergency situations, call only emergency teams reporting them about the injured, inform of any new emergency or of threat thereof.
But there must be no unreasonable calls.


10. In quiet everyday life, train and instruct your family

You ought to try to instruct your family in quiet minutes of everyday life about the dangers inherent to the area they are living in and how they’d better behave when authorities and mass media warn about the approaching calamity. In doing so, the guidelines published by various emergency teams will be helpful as well.
Gently and insistently making people to perceive such instructions, you will sooner or reach the situation where in case of real danger you will not have to call them to warn. 


11. Do not leave your residence place unless for extreme need

In the approaching calamity, do not drive anywhere unless for absolutely extreme need. Too many people died in cars that were taken away by floods, got into wood fire or snow storm. If you still have to go then do not switch on the record player with your favorite music but turn on the radio. Catch the news. If possible, tune the radio to local emergency teams’ frequency.


12. Be careful when returning to the house that has been in the emergency zone

Do not enter the house. It is very likely that a building was damaged and it might fall on your head. It is the emergency teams’ responsibility to examine the buildings and decide if people can come back into them.

In case that you nevertheless have to enter the building, then do not light your way with torch or candle and do not smoke. 

Make sure that the house or thereabouts do not smell with gas or chemicals. If you feel suspicious odor, report that to emergency team.

Keep away from broken wires (including telephone ones). Any such wire is a source of deadly danger.

Do not consume your food reserves at once - check them: these may turn to be contaminated (if not with chemicals then by mold) or spoiled (for instance if kept in the fridge while electricity was cut for a long time).

Do not consume tap water of well water. Be sure to follow the emergency teams’ instructions as to consuming water and/or decontaminating it.

If you find yourself close to the site where rescue works are performed, and they do not need your help then go away from there. 

Do not drive anywhere unless in case of extreme need. Roads might be destroyed or blocked. For instance, there were cases where the trees broken by wind were falling and crushing the cars on the move, or deep gaps unexpectedly emerged on the road. The most dangerous are bridges after a disaster.

If you still have had to drive, then be maximally careful and do not accelerate. If hit upon damages on the road that are dangerous for drivers, then report this to emergency teams as soon as possible.


13. Make sure your relatives are safe, too

At disaster, you should not use telephone, but as soon as it is officially announced that the hardest situation is over immediately contact your folks. Having not heard from you, they might apply to the emergency headquarters, and you would be included in the list of missing persons. Accordingly, to find you, time and effort will be spent which could otherwise be necessary for searching for those who sharply need help.

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