What is an emergency?

What is an emergency or a major incident?

Essentially there is little difference between the two if you are caught up in one. However, the Civil Contingencies Act refers to an Emergency and defines this as:

  • an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom
  • an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of a place in the United Kingdom, or
  • war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom.

In practical terms, an emergency could be a pandemic flu outbreak, a major flooding incident, widespread lack of electricity over a long period of time or a gas leak requiring residents to be evacuated from their homes. The emergency may be abroad, but affecting UK residents, such as the evacuation of ex-patriot citizens from Libya due to increased violence in the area.