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Majority of Redbridge residents don't know what to do in a terror attack or emergency

PUBLISHED: 11:17 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 15 April 2019

Laura Basegmezer with Laura Harrison, senior civil protection officer for Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. They are participating in an emergency exercise held by the three boroughs and the British Red Cross, alongside other partners. Picture: British Red Cross.

Laura Basegmezer with Laura Harrison, senior civil protection officer for Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest and Redbridge. They are participating in an emergency exercise held by the three boroughs and the British Red Cross, alongside other partners. Picture: British Red Cross.

© Chris Mendes

The British Red Cross is calling on Redbridge residents to learn what to do in the event of a terror attack and other emergencies after more than half of people said they were totally unprepared.

Laura Basegmezer, senior emergency response officer for the British Red Cross in London, said an emergency creates shockwaves and it can affect not only those directly involved but also family and friends, witnesses, passers-by, sometimes even the local or wider community as a whole.

“I would encourage people in Redbridge and across London to take some time to think about how they would cope in an emergency,” she said.

“Do any of you have a grab bag with items such as medication, a charger and hygiene kit? Do you know who to contact in an emergency?

“I would suggest downloading our free emergency response and first aid apps to get some more ideas and equip yourself with the right knowledge, and taking a look at our recent blog post at the British Red Cross website which lists top tips on giving emotional support in an emergency.”

The new British Red Cross report Ready for Anything says the needs of individuals and communities must be at heart of responses to flooding, terror attacks, and other emergencies

The report surveyed 5,000 adults and nearly half (44per cent) of London respondents think they will be affected by a major emergency, but 59pc admit nobody in their household has taken steps to prepare.

London deputy mayor for fire and resilience Fiona Twycross backs the Red Cross call for the voluntary sector, emergency services, local authorities and the government to work better together to meet key needs identified in the report of addressing immediate practical needs, communicating essential information, providing mental health and psychosocial support and helping people rebuild lives with access to advocacy, advice and ongoing support.

“In London, we have taken a number of steps to ensure the capital is prepared in the face of any emergency, whether that's severe flooding or a terror attack,” said Ms Twycross.

“Our focus is not just on emergencies and our response to them, we are working with partners to identify the risks and put together a range of measures to help us mitigate those, while ensuring our frontline services and resources are directed where they are needed most.

“By working with partners from across London, as well as other cities, we can develop a united strategy to respond to any potential emergency, no matter the scale.”

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, 42pc of UK adults would want support finding family members they had become separated from following a bomb threat or terror attack.

More younger people say they'd want emotional support than older people -26pc 18- 24 compared to 14pc 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.

Emma Spragg, director for London, Independent Living & Crisis Response, said: “Major emergencies in the UK are thankfully rare and it's important to stress the majority of people won't be caught up in one.

“But, whether it's a flood, fire, power or water outage or other alert, this report builds on our knowledge of how to respond and support people's recovery best.

“One size doesn't fit all, and planning together and listening to people's needs locally can both reassure and empower communities to withstand incidents in future.”

Naomi Phillips, director of policy and advocacy, at the British Red Cross added: “Our report offers powerful insights into what people require after an emergency, whether a major event or the need to evacuate their home for a fire or flood, something that could happen to anyone.

“We're inviting emergency responders across all sectors to work with us and share our learnings.”

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