Somerset County Council

Preparing for emergencies


Our customer contact centre will be provided with advice and guidance to give to you in an emergency.  

Our Somerset Newsroom will also show information about current emergencies.

Local radio and television will broadcast up to date situation reports and advice.

 You may hear the message:

  • Go in 
  • Stay in 
  • Tune in   

This advises you to shelter, stay there until more advice is given by the emergency services, and listen to the local media stations for more information.

We will have up-to-date information about any major incidents. We will have press releases and general information and safety advice for the public. We can take any information you may have about incidents.

We promote the national scheme of "Go in, Stay in, Tune in" during emergencies, which will be broadcast on local media. If you are asked to evacuate your home, you can go to relatives, friends or a local authority Rest Centre. At the Rest Centre you will be given up-to-date information about the situation and when you can return home. Media announcements will also be made for people who are not at a Rest Centre.

We have produced various leaflets with advice about how you can prepare before, during and after emergencies, which you can find in the 'Information and Resources' section of this page. 

We have also produced leaflets which provide advice about the needs of animals in disasters. The three leaflets, in the Information and resources section, can help animal owners to think ahead and prepare effective plans before a disaster happens. They have been written by a vet, with the support of many major animal charities and organisations. The responsibility for animal welfare is now placed on animal keepers by the Animals Welfare Act 2006.

Your parish or town council may know about the current local incidents and may have activated their Parish Emergency Plan if Emergency Services are overwhelmed. The Parish Emergency Plan will have personnel and resources which can be used to deal with emergencies. If you can offer any help during emergencies please contact your parish or town council.

We are the first point of contact for any services provided by all local authorities in Somerset. The local authorities' role is to care for the needs of the people and communities affected by the emergency.

Community self-help in emergencies

It is important that communities take part in the recovery from an emergency In a number of areas we have held Parish Flood Fairs giving communities information about products and services available to prevent flooding.

We assess the risks, prepare contingency plans, co-ordinate the local authority response and support the recovery management process so that the impact of emergencies on the life and vitality of communities, people and businesses is kept to a minimum. 

We have sent all Somerset parish council clerks a CD containing a template Parish Emergency Plan. Parish councils can compile a document that records local information, such as personnel, premises and resources for use during emergencies, for example, long term power cuts. The template can be downloaded or sent to you in paper format if required. 

The CD contains other documents giving advice on:

  • Severe weather
  • Promoting business continuity
  • Contact phone numbers
  • The fire prevention handbook
  • Emergency Action checklist
  • Major incidents
  • Pandemic flu advice
  • Short guide to fire safety 
  • Parish planning general information
  • Risk assessment
  • UK resilience risk 

We have also produced a fold-out Emergency Action checklist for householders, with advice about what to do before, during and after emergencies. A useful phone number bookmark is also available. Contact us for supplies to distribute in your parish. 

You can request talks on emergency planning and what can be achieved to provide community self-help during emergencies.

Your parish council may be able to advise you about any local emergency planning that has already happened in your area. If you wish to help your parish council please offer them your assistance.

If you can offer any specific skills, you may wish to join a voluntary agency. We work closely with many voluntary agencies (see Information and resources). These agencies help the emergency services and local authorities during emergencies and, as a group, are known as Somerset Emergency Voluntary Agencies Group (SEVAG). We provide training for the voluntary agencies that work with us. 

General information

To be prepared for any emergencies, you can make up a home emergency pack including:

  • Torch 
  • Radio 
  • Batteries 
  • First aid kit 
  • Contact list 
  • Bottled water/canned drinks  

You can also prepare an evacuation check list of things to pack quickly if you are advised to leave your home. This list may include:

  • Your home emergency pack 
  • Warm clothing 
  • Essential medication and personal items, like glasses 
  • Baby food and nappies 
  • Wallet, purse and bank cards 
  • Mobile phone and charger 
  • Pet carriers, collar and lead (unless you are able to leave your pet at home)  

Depending on the time of year, you can keep a basic emergency kit in your vehicle.

  • Bottled water 
  • First aid 
  • Torch and batteries 
  • Cigar plug lead for mobile phones 
  • Sweets, long life snacks 
  • Blanket, warm tracksuit and hat 
  • Waterproof coat 
  • Wellington boots 
  • Spare socks (can be used as gloves)   

Our role is to assess the risks, prepare contingency plans, co-ordinate the local authority response and support the recovery management process, so that the impact of emergencies on the life and vitality of our communities, our people and our businesses is minimised. 


Contact: Somerset Local Authorities' Civil Contingencies Unit 
Address: Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DY 
Phone 0300 123 2224 

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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