SOCIAL media erupted yesterday when police and emergency services handed out advice on what to do in the case of large-scale emergencies.

Using the hashtag #30days30waysuk, forces across the country advised people to pack a ‘grab-bag’ of essential items they might need if they had to leave their house suddenly.

What did people say?

The reaction to these messages has been huge, with social media flooded with messages from users concerned at why this advice was ‘suddenly’ being given.

And others speculated the move could have been pushed by the government ahead of a no-deal Brexit.

Should we panic?

No, according to the group behind the campaign.

#30days30waysUK was first used in the UK in 2015 by Northamptonshire’s Emergency Planning Team.

According to the initiative, September is ‘preparedness month’, with advice being handed out each day to make people think more about what to do in the case of emergencies, which include ‘storms, flooding, power cuts and road closures.’

The project also says it aims to help get people prepared ‘through fun games and activities for all’.

This is what the team behind the project has to say: “When people talk about emergencies you may think of recent tragic events such as the attacks on London and Manchester, recent UK storms and flooding, the Nepal earthquake, the Indonesian tsunami or other global disasters.

“What if we told you that being prepared is not just for those head-line grabbing incidents? Power cuts, water main bursts, gas leaks, fires, transport strikes, road closures etc. can happen any day. Taking proactive steps to be better prepared will help you not only with everyday emergencies but also with far less likely incidents.”

What is a grab bag?

Sunday’s advice, which was shared by police forces nationwide, suggested gathering together essential items you would need in an emergency.

They include a flashlight, warm clothing, food and water, a radio and phone chargers with battery packs.

Thames Valley Police also suggested packing a first aid kit and a whistle.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Has this got anything to do with Brexit?

Despite speculation, apparently not.

#30days30waysuk states that the scheme was started in this country in 2015, though its Twitter page and website wasn’t set up until 2017 and its Facebook profile in 2018.

In the UK, the Northamptonshire County Council Emergency Planning Team piloted the concept in 2015 and says it has been gaining momentum ever since.

Following a run in 2016, the team behind the idea say a new, evidence based framework is now in place.

Risk reduction site Prevention Web says: "42 UK regions in England and Wales have, by law, local resilience forums made up of the emergency services and supporting agencies. Each of these forums have regional responsibility to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their local area.

"Many of the forums across the UK are now involved in the campaign. 

"30days30ways was originally started in Vancouver, Washington State, USA, by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency. Their primary focus was on sharing local emergency preparedness information by email."

Did everyone take it seriously?

No, of course not. 

Twitter is awash with tongue-in-cheek suggestions for how we should react, and helpful hints as to what to pack in your 'grab-bag'.