Loss of Utilities / Critical Infrastructure

Loss of utilities can happen at any time and with little warning. Critical infrastructure is the wider group of services made up of Electricity, Water, Gas, Oil / Fuel, Transport, Telecoms, Food, Health and Financial services. Individual parts of the infrastructure network are dependent on others and for this reason loss of even a single service can have direct and indirectly wider impacts on the infrastructure that supports normal day to day living.

Potential impacts:

  • Lack of drinking water
  • Poor sanitation
  • Loss of heating
  • Loss of lighting
  • Unable to heat food and water
  • Unable to keep food cold or frozen
  • Empty fuel tanks – no transport
  • Empty shop shelves when impact affects supply chains
  • Disruption to services in the community
  • Unable to get cash from cash machines or make card purchases
  • Unable to recharge mobile phones and other items
  • Unable to use television, computers, gaming consoles, etc

What you can do

  • Read the section Emergency Kit – keep yours fully stocked
  • Keep mobile phones, laptops or tablets fully charged – so you will have use of battery power for a short time at least if there is a power cut
  • A non-mains powered landline telephone will help you stay in touch during any disruptions to power supply
  • Outages may come with forewarning – consider how you can be prepared e.g. fill the bath with drinking water
  • Know where to turn off your utilities – during some gas and water emergencies it may be necessary to shut off the supply to every premises in the affected area

If you have special health requirements

The utility companies work closely with local authorities to make sure that vulnerable people get the support they need during any disruption to normal services. You should let your utilities suppliers know if you:

  • have a disability or are chronically sick
  • depend on a continuous supply of power for medical equipment or mobility equipment such as stair lifts and hoists
  • are visually impaired or have hearing difficulties
  • are of state pensionable age
  • have other specific requirements