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Disaster recovery

Find out what to do during and immediately after a natural disaster.

During an event

  • Remain calm.
  • Put safety first.
  • Check for danger (e.g. fires, gas leaks, damage to buildings).
  • Stay where you are unless it is unsafe, or you are officially told to leave.
  • If necessary to keep safe, turn off electricity, gas or water mains.
  • Be prepared to move into a safer part of your building.
  • Seek help from those around you, and offer to help them too.
  • Don't use the telephone except to report immediate emergencies.
  • Listen to local radio stations for official warnings and advice.


If you are officially told to evacuate, take

  • your survival kit and important documents
  • warm clothes and sturdy shoes
  • a radio and torches

If it is unsafe to stay where you are, arrange shelter for yourself. If possible, stay with neighbours, friends or family.

Essential services


First use your stored water, then your water cylinder and toilet cistern water, as long as it doesn't have any chemicals in it.


Boil all other water for five minutes before drinking.


Find out more about storing drinking water for emergencies — WREMO


Use your emergency lighting, heating and cooking facilities.


Use a plastic bag in a bucket or in the toilet bowl or make a temporary toilet outdoors.


Find out more about making a temporary toilet — WREMO


If phone lines aren't working, seek the assistance of your neighbours and, if it's safe, go to your nearest Community Emergency Hub. You can find your nearest Hub on your local Civil Defence group's website.


Find your local Civil Defence Group — Civil Defence

Immediately following an event

  1. Make sure you and those around you are safe. Follow the instructions of Civil Defence or other emergency management professionals at all times.
  2. Contact your insurance provider. It's important you let them know as soon as possible that you'll be making a claim. They'll tell you what they need from you and what you can and can't do with damaged goods or buildings.
  3. Take pictures of any damage. This will help with your insurance claim.
  4. Act safely to prevent any more damage to your building. Try to make the buildings safe and weatherproof where possible but don't start non-essential repairs without your insurer's approval
  5. Keep all damaged items for inspection, unless they present a risk to health. Check with your insurer before throwing out contaminated or perishable items. If you have to throw things out, take photos and make a list.
  6. Get essential services repaired, including water, electricity, gas and sewerage. Keep copies of the bills for your insurer.

Contact your insurer as soon as you can

It's important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after an event. They'll be able to advise you on the best next steps to take and any information they need from you.

Your provider may be

  • an insurer
  • an intermediary — such as a bank
  • a broker.

Whichever organisation you normally deal with regarding your insurance, that is who you should contact.

We have contact numbers for all our members on our website. If you use a broker or you bought your insurance through an intermediary, you'll be able to find their contact number by googling the name of the provider plus the words insurance claim contact.

Other organisations you may need to contact

After a disaster, you may need to contact other organisations to help you recover. You can click on each of the links below to find out how to contact each organisation or to find contact details for your local service.

Find out more

You can find out more about preparing for natural disasters on the Civil Defence's Get Ready website.

Visit Get Ready