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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 6.00pm on Monday 2 October until 8.00am on Tuesday 3 October: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Emergency safety advice

Severe weather, flooding, power cuts and other emergency situations can affect us all at one time or another. Follow our emergency safety advice to make sure you're prepared for any situation you find yourself in.

If you are in immediate danger call 999 or see our emergency contacts information.

Before an emergency arises

  • Check the "County Durham and Darlington Prepared" website for useful information on emergencies in our area.
  • Make an emergency plan to prepare you and your family for an emergency using our household emergency plan template. You don't need any specialist knowledge; it is all about you and your home. 
  • Make a list of any medication you or your family take.
  • Keep a list of emergency contact numbers and insurance numbers.
  • Make sure that important documents and emergency supplies are kept out of the way of flood water e.g. on a high shelf. Suggestions include:
    • a fireproof box containing your important documents 
    • an external hard drive with a recent back-up of your computer

During an emergency

When the emergency is over

  • Look out for information in the local news or from the council.
  • If you've had to leave home, don't return until you are told it's safe.

Top Tip: Grab Bag

It is important to keep a bag full of important items that you might need if you are evacuated from your home in an emergency. Items may include:

  • Medication
  • Important documents
  • Toiletries
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Warm waterproof clothing
  • Bottled water and ready-to-eat food
  • Baby food and care items where necessary
  • First aid kit
  • Wind up battery torch and radio

Top Tip: Important Items to Store in Your Home

It may be useful to keep a stock of some specific items in your home in case of a power cut or severe weather which may result in restricted access to services for a period of time. Items may include:

  • Wind up torches or torches with a stock of batteries
  • Other battery powered light sources e.g., lanterns
  • Tinned food
  • Ready to eat food which doesn't require heating up
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Portable power bank
  • Extra blankets/ foil blankets
  • Hot water bottles
  • Bottled water
  • Electric fan or small air conditioning unit
  • Corded phone
  • First aid kit

Priority Services Registers

Utility companies each have their own free, vulnerable persons register so it is a good idea to sign up to all of them to ensure you are on their priority service list in an incident if you feel it necessary.

•    Northern Powergrid Priority Services Membership: Northern Powergrid: Powergrid Care
•    Northern Gas Networks Priority Customers: Northern Gas Networks
•    Northumbrian Water Priority Services: Northumbrian Water: Sign up for Priority Services

For more information, visit: Getting extra help with the Priority Services Register

Power cut - tips and advice

Check Northern Powergrid's website for the most up to date information and advice on power cuts. You will also find links to their social media feeds which you may want to follow: Northern Power Grid: Power cuts home 

Here are some top tips to get you started:

  • Have a battery-powered or wind-up radio tuned into a local radio station
  • Keep a torch handy - much safer than candles
  • Only use alternative forms of heat or lighting if they're safe
  • Make sure you have a charged mobile to hand with all important numbers stored
  • Make a hot water bottle and fill a vacuum flask with something warm
  • Make sure you wrap up warm with extra clothes and/or blankets
  • Ensure cupboards are stocked with food and drink
  • Kitchen appliances will be ok during a power cut
  • Home and fire alarms may be affected during a power cut
  • Fish and livestock may be vulnerable during a power cut
  • Leave a light on so you can tell when the power is back on
Contact us
Civil Contingencies Unit
03000 264 654
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ