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Utilities Failure

Utilities failure or a disruption of the gas, electricity and/or water supply can impact on every aspect of our lives.

It is important that young people understand there are steps which we can all take to ensure we are prepared for any such disruption.

Contexts for learning

Investigating utilities failure and its potential impact on people, their homes and the wider economy, provides a context for learning and teaching about aspects of risk, safety, preparation, community involvement and personal responsibility.

There are strong curriculum links to science, geography and modern studies. In addition, the planning involved in preparing for any type of utilities failure involves a wide variety of essential skills such as collaboration, communication and problem solving.

PDF file: Curriculum links - Utilities failure (306 KB)


Opportunities for partnership working

Potential candidates for partnership working include planners and engineers from utilities companies, local authority planning officers, members of the emergency services and charities such as Age Scotland.


Understanding and responding to utilities failure - Learning journey

This learning journey looks at what utilities are, how we use them, and what happens when things go wrong. It encourages learners to think critically about the impact of utilities failure on individuals and the community. An accompanying learner challenge looks at the role of the media in preparing for emergencies.

Useful links

You might find the following links useful when studying utilities failure in the context of emergency planning and resilience education.

Powerwise: A range of games and facts about electricity usage and safety from ScottishPower, including activities for five to 16 year olds looking at issues around power supply.
Power Up: A range of online resources for learners aged seven to 14 including the ‘Electric Journey’ which looks at how electricity is produced and distributed. 
Ready Scotland - Utilities: Information from the Ready Scotland website on preparing for and dealing with emergencies involving the loss of utilities such as gas, electricity and water supplies.
Ready Scotland - Emergency kit checklist: A guide to creating your own ‘emergency kit’ to help prepare for a variety of emergency situations.
Scottish Water: The Scottish Water website has information and news about water provision in Scotland.
Scottish Water - Education Zone: Games and worksheets looking at a range of areas including water treatment, flooding and pollution.
Scottish Water - YouTube channel: A series of videos from Scottish Water including examples of how the company deals with loss of supply as a result burst pipes and bad weather.
British Gas - YouTube Channel: A range of videos from British Gas including examples of how the company deals with the loss of supply during extreme weather.