Are you and your family ready to face an emergency such as a flood, wildfire, earthquake or power outage? Do you have an emergency plan and an emergency kit to survive the first 72 hours following a disaster? Here are essentials tips to be better prepared and to recover from emergencies.
Identify Possible Emergency Disaster Hazards
Check with your local disaster management office to determine what potential risks exist in your area. Emergency risks include natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes as well as man-caused disasters such as chemical spills, nuclear waste problems, and radiation leakage. Each of these circumstances will require specific actions to reduce risk, prepare for disaster, and recover from an emergency situation.
Evaluate Your Property for Emergency Disaster Risk
Even if you don’t live in a disaster-prone area, certain features about your property can place you at risk for an emergency. Dry wood and underbrush near your home can put you at risk for fire; a nearby river or stream can overflow and cause flooding, especially for homes with basements; and living in mountainous areas can place you at risk for landslides. Stay in tune with the potential hazards around your home, including seasonal hazards such as snowstorms in winter and fires after a hot, dry summer.
Prepare an Emergency Plan
By definition, emergencies happen when we don't expect them, and often when families are not together. Suddenly, you need to think about your kids at school or elderly parents across town. If phones don’t work, or some neighbourhoods aren’t accessible, what will you do?
Having a family emergency plan will save time and make real situations less stressful. The Canadian government has published a small guide to help with this task. You can download a copy at the following link: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/yprprdnssgd-eng.pdf
Keep an Emergency Kit
In case of a major event, you will need some basic supplies set aside. Many emergency kit items may already be in your home. It's just a question of taking the time to put your emergency kit together. Your emergency kit should contain basic survival items such as water, dried food, flashlight and batteries, radio, first aid kit, and cash in smaller bills.
During an emergency, it is important to stay informed and listen to the local authorities for instructions.
The Red Cross has detailed information on disaster preparedness on its website at www.redcross.ca/disasterpreparedness. It also provides educational programs for children and youth at www.redcross.ca/educatorsresources.
Don’t be caught unprepared. Know the risks and take steps to plan for them. Make sure to stock up on emergency food and water as well as first aid supplies and lighting and heating. You can never be too prepared to save your family.