By lending a hand before, during or after an emergency, you ease the work of the police, ambulance or fire brigade, who can then give priority to the most urgent victims. Often small actions can make the difference.
But be careful not to disrupt the actions of the emergency services! Always ensure your own safety and that of your family first. To do so, follow the instructions of the emergency services carefully.
Before an emergency:
- Through BE-Alert you get a message when an emergency occurs in your area.
- Do you know of friends or relatives who have not signed up yet? Encourage them to do so as soon as possible. This way, they will also be informed in case of an emergency.
- Are there people in your environment who have more trouble using a computer? Help them sign up online on www.be-alert.be.
- Are you making your own emergency plan? Then involve your neighbours or vulnerable people in your environment, e.g. an elderly person, a couple with a young child, pregnant women, etc. Agree with them how you can contact each other in case of emergency.
- Some emergencies can be predicted. Think for example of a storm or a heat wave. This allows you to take measures in advance to protect yourself or your home.
- Do you have information about an (announced) emergency? Ask your neighbours if they are aware of it as well.
- Help vulnerable people around you take the necessary measures (e.g. move garden furniture inside during a storm, get enough water in the house during a heat wave, etc.)
During an emergency:
Always get yourself to safety first. To do so, follow the instructions of the emergency services. They will let you know how you can protect yourself (e.g. avoid area, close windows and doors, etc.).Never be a hero!
Are you safe? Then see if you can help.
- Have you taken a first aid course? Then you can apply first aid during the first minutes of an emergency. Reacting quickly can often make the difference. Please carefully read the first aid tips of the Red Cross.
- In serious emergencies, the Red Cross sometimes calls for people to donate blood. Check the website to find out where you can help http://www.rodekruis.be/wat-kan-jij-doen/geef-bloed/. By the way, you do not need to wait for an emergency to donate blood or plasma.
- Depending on the emergency and the government recommendations, you can help friends, family or bystanders by e.g.
- Offering a lift if you have a spare seat in your car;
- Lending your mobile phone or sharing your hotspot so that others can notify their families;
- Providing temporary shelter in the event of a major fire or nuclear incident;
- Offering a place to sleep to someone who is unable to get home;
- In major emergencies, people often offer help on social media via certain hashtags (e.g. #ikwilhelpen). Can you help? Share your information using this hashtag.
- Are you active on social media? Then help spread the correct and official information. Do not share rumours. Rumours can lead to panic and disrupt the work of the emergency services.
In the event of a prolonged emergency, think about some vulnerable people around you and pay an extra visit to make sure they are okay (e.g. during hot or cold days).
After an emergency:
- Help friends or neighbours clean up any damage.
- Check if there is a need for clothing or food and donate to those who can use it.