Oliver Dowden to tell Brits to stockpile three days worth of emergency supplies in case of national crisis

22 May 2024, 09:03

The Deputy Prime Minister is set to tell householders they should prepare for three days of self sufficiency
The Deputy Prime Minister is set to tell householders they should prepare for three days of self sufficiency. Picture: Gov.uk
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The UK government is set to urge households to stockpile emergency supplies to survive for 72 hours without help, in preparation for potential national crises.

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Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is set to unveil the "Prepare Campaign" at the London Defence Conference, aimed at significantly boosting the country's resilience planning.

Every household should have an emergency pack to help them survive for three days in the event of a national emergency, the Deputy Prime Minister will say later.

Dowden will argue that homes need to become self-sufficient in case of emergencies like floods, power outages, cyber-attacks or war.

The campaign comes after a new poll found alarming levels of unpreparedness among the British public.

Set to be published by the London Defence Conference on Wednesday, the polling shows more than 40 per cent of people do not have three days’ supplies of non-perishable food and water and just 15 per cent have an emergency supply kit in their homes.

Read more: Rain and thunderstorms to bring flooding and travel disruption across UK as Met Office issues amber weather warnings

Read more: UK inflation falls to 2.3% in April but Jeremy Hunt warns 'cost of living crisis not over'

Mr Dowden has told reporters he is personally prepared for an emergency
Mr Dowden has told reporters he is personally prepared for an emergency. Picture: Alamy

In previewing the initiative, Dowden specifically cited flooding risks to highlight the importance of stocking up.

The Deputy Prime Minister framed the campaign as easing burdens on the government during crises.

Dowden also claimed to be personally prepared, stating: "I can assure you that we've got plenty of resilience in the cupboards and we've got some water in the shed. And we've got some better battery-powered torches."

The most common risk is localised flooding, according to the government’s risk register, leading to power and water outages. But among the 100 other potential threats people should be prepared for include another pandemic, a mass cyberattack that cuts off the internet, disruption to UK space systems that affect GPS signals — or, in an extreme case, could include conflict or even the potential for a nuclear attack in continental Europe.

Speaking to journalists before the launch of the new website, Dowden said flooding was the most common risk likely to be encountered by members of the public and highlighted how stocking up household cupboards would help.

“Localised flooding can lead to power outages and it can lead to water disruption,” Dowden said. “If you think about it, the time it takes a flood to recede, if you’re resilient for three days in simple terms, you’re not going to be worried about getting down to the shops in that period.”

Dowden added: “Every additional person that takes steps to make themselves resilient means that when a crisis hits, the government can focus more on the people that aren’t ready and aren’t resilient.”

The most common risk is localised flooding, according to the government’s risk register, leading to power and water outages.
The most common risk is localised flooding, according to the government’s risk register, leading to power and water outages. Picture: Alamy

What should you have in an emergency home kit?

  • A list of emergency contact numbers. This should be a paper copy, in case your mobile phone loses power.
  • A battery-operated torch and spare batteries, or a wind-up torch.
  • Battery-operated radio and spare batteries, or a wind-up radio.
  • Any essential medication and a first aid kit.
  • Three days’ supply of bottled water and ready-to-eat food that won’t go off.
  • Copies of important documents, such as insurance policies and birth certificates. Keep these in a waterproof bag.
  • Pencil, paper, penknife and whistle.
  • Spare keys to your home and car.
  • Spare glasses or contact lenses.
  • Baby and pet supplies if needed.

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