Most London adults are totally unprepared for an emergency

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Nearly a half (44%) of London adults think they will be affected by a major emergency, but 59% admit nobody in their household has taken steps to prepare.That’s according to new research from the British Red Cross.

London Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience Fiona Twycross today backs the Red Cross call for the voluntary sector, emergency services, local authorities and the Government to work better together to meet four key needs identified in the report:

addressing immediate practical needs

communicating essential information

providing mental health and psychosocial support

helping people rebuild lives with access to advocacy, advice and ongoing support

Drawing on a survey of 5,000 UK adults, and insights from those with direct experience of major incidents and emergencies, Ready for anything: Putting people at the heart of emergency response, looks in depth at what people expect and need when crisis hits.

The report finds that when emergencies happen, such as fires, flooding, or a terror attack, individuals and communities respond very differently. The support they are given to plan, cope with and recover from an emergency should reflect that diversity. For example, 42% of UK adults would want support finding family members they had become separated from following a bomb threat or terror attack. And more younger people say they’d want emotional support than older people, 26% of those aged 18-24 compared with 14% of those over 65.

The report also shows providing cash for people to buy what they need in an emergency, rather than assuming what they need, was often more culturally appropriate and desired. It gives people dignity and allows them to make decisions about their own recovery.

The British Red Cross responds to an emergency in the UK approximately every four hours. The charity and its volunteers carry out first aid, run rest centres and provide safe spaces where they offer emotional and practical support. Every year, it helps around half a million people in the UK to prepare for, respond to and recover from a crisis. It believes greater collaboration between different agencies and charities, as well as sharing local knowledge and insights, will help meet the wide range of individual needs in a crisis.

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