10 things you didn't know we do in UK emergencies

We were there for Grenfell victims, we set up funds after the Manchester Arena bombs, we wade in when floods strike... and so much more. Read on for 10 surprising facts about our emergency work.

Last updated 8 March 2023

1. You can depend on us

Emergencies can happen any time, and anywhere. But whether it’s a fire in the family home or a national emergency, you can depend on us. We are part of the resilience plan of local authorities around the country! So, wherever you are, we can be there to help keep you safe.


2. We team up with other charities

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership is the UK version of the international Disasters Emergencies Committee. When there’s an emergency, we team up with organisations like the Salvation Army, Muslim Aid, St John’s Ambulance, the Cabinet Office and UK Community Foundations to coordinate how we can share expertise and save more lives.


3. We have some really cool (and effective) resources Whatever the emergency, we are prepared. We have a fleet of state-of-the art 4x4 vehicles, ready to tackle the toughest conditions. We can set up a dedicated support line within four hours. And, most importantly, we have thousands of trained, super-kind volunteers ready to provide care and comfort.


4. We even have an app!

You can prepare yourself for the unexpected with our easy-to-use Emergency app. You can set up weather warnings, check your family are safe during a crisis, and get practical advice for different emergencies. You can even check the UK terrorism threat level.


5. We’ve got five top tips for emergency prep

If you’re not app-happy, we also have online advice on how to prepare for emergencies. You’ll find links to learning first aid, find out why it’s good to always have a plan and even be reminded to think about your pets! There’s advice for helping children and young people cope with emergencies, too.


6. We were there during Grenfell

We mobilised our volunteers from the night of the fire, working 24/7 for several weeks and deploying close to 1,000 trained volunteers. We ran a 24/7 support line, converted three football pitches worth of donated goods into cash for Grenfell through our shops, and raised over £7m for the bereaved and hospitalised.


7. We support people affected by terrorism

To support people affected by the London and Manchester Arena bombings and the London Bridge and Borough Market terrorism attacks, we set up the UK Solidarity Fund. With the public’s support, we ensure the people affected and their families do not face short-term financial difficulties while they recover.


8. We help turn the tide during floods

When flooding begins, we can be on the ground to help within hours. When a month’s rain fell in 24 hours in November 2019, we opened rest centres in Yorkshire. We went door-to-door to make sure elderly and vulnerable people were safe. We made sure people had essential supplies. We helped in any way we could.


9. We’re teaching children what to do in emergencies

We’ve prepared special interactive activities, film scenarios, information sheets and quizzes to make sure kids know how to cope in an emergency. Take a look – you might find them fun too!


10. You can volunteer and be a hero

Have you ever thought about helping to protect others and showing kindness in your community? We need volunteers to help respond to emergencies and help give comfort in the aftermath of a crisis. What’s more, volunteering is your chance to meet new people, learn new skills, and have fun!

Interested? Learn more about becoming a community reserve volunteer.

Emergencies in the UK

We respond to an emergency in the UK every four hours. People are at the heart of what we do. If you’re inspired by what you’re reading on Stories, please consider donating to make sure we’re ready to spring into action.