An emergency is an event or situation which threatens serious damage to:

  • human welfare in a place in the UK
  • the environment of a place in the UK
  • war or terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK.

It will require a response beyond the everyday resources of the emergency services and those departments and organisations that support them.

An emergency cannot normally be predicted and can come in any form:

  • severe weather
  • natural disaster
  • technological/industrial accidents
  • power failures
  • transport/road/rail/air
  • terrorism

It can happen very suddenly (e.g. an aircraft crash) or have a more gradual onset (e.g. flooding following a period of heavy rain). It may be from a natural cause or one that is ‘man-made’.

Emergencies can happen quickly and without warning

It could mean the loss of basic services including water, gas, power and telephones.

It may mean damage or threat of damage to your property by flooding, fire or blast.

Preparing for emergencies

During a major emergency, the responding emergency services, local authority and other agencies may not be able to reach everybody right away. Therefore it is vital that families, individuals and communities take action to prepare themselves and their families for emergency situations.

The emergency services may need to evacuate your home, or indeed your whole neighbourhood, or possibly even confine you to your property until the danger has passed.

The government and emergency response agencies are working hard to ensure they are as prepared as they can be in the event of an emergency but it is important that you are ready too. By being informed and prepared, you can significantly reduce the risk to you, your family, and your community.

Planning ahead is something we all do in our everyday lives in case things go wrong or don't turn out the way we expected. Preparing for emergencies is much the same – it’s about being ready for bad situations should they happen.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has a corporate response plan, but does hold specific plans for incidents such as floods, heatwave and pandemic flu.

Please see highways resilience for more information about roads and emergencies.​

Please see the Preparing for Emergencies document on the In the Know website.

In an emergency

In the event of an emergency, especially where there is an immediate threat to life or property, you should call the emergency service on 999.

You should remain calm, be patient, and deal with the important things first.

  • Do not put yourself or others in danger
  • Always follow the instructions given by the emergency services
  • Remain calm, think before acting. Consider the hazards!
  • Check for injuries - remember to attend to yourself before attempting to help others
  • Be aware of the needs of others especially children, the elderly and vulnerable. Try to assist where possible and offer reassurance to others involved in the incident.

During an emergency, the emergency services and other responding agencies will primarily be concerned with those directly involved in the incident as well as the family and friends of any casualties.

It is vitally important that the responding agencies are allowed to get on with their task quickly and safely – their priority is the rescue operation. All agencies will be working to alleviate the effects of the emergency on the community whilst continuing to deliver essential and critical public services.

ICE: In Case of Emergency

Put "ICE" in your mobile phone – this involves putting the acronym ICE in front of designated emergency contact numbers i.e. ICE Joe or ICE mum.

In case of an emergency situation, the emergency service personnel can call your emergency "ICE" contact and inform them of your situation.

Information or up to date advice on an emergency

"Go In, Stay In, Tune In"

This is the national advice given to anyone caught up in an emergency situation.

You should "Go Indoors, Stay Indoors and Tune Into" the local radio.

If you are not involved in the incident, but are close by or believe you may be in danger, in most cases the advice is to, Go in, Stay in, Tune in!

Close all doors and windows and stay inside until you are advised the emergency is over. Listen to local radio for information updates!

There may be situations when it's simply best to stay inside and avoid any uncertainty outside.

Local radio

Local radio has a responsibility to support the emergency services in getting real and relevant advice out to the Community. So the Police, Lancs County Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service, and Blackburn with Darwen Council will use radio stations to inform everyone on what to do, where to go and what actions they are taking whilst responding to the incident.