While governments from every level and emergency management organizations work hard to keep us safe, individuals, communities, businesses and volunteer organizations play an equally important role. Typically, emergencies happen when we least expect them and are out of our control; however, if our community is prepared for one and works together, the risks and impact of emergencies can be reduced.
The following steps should be taken by individuals, families and businesses ahead of time to become better prepared to face emergencies:
- Know the risks – Know the risks specific to your community and region and prepare for different situations. Wildfires, floods, severe storms, and tornadoes are examples of hazards in our region that can trigger emergencies. Other emergencies may include bomb threats, chemical releases, pandemic influenza, and power outages.
- Make a plan – Create a new or update an existing emergency plan to save time make real situations less stressful. An emergency plan may include evacuation plans, a floor plan of your home with possible exits, meeting places, emergency contact information, accommodation plans, insurance information, and fire extinguisher and water valve locations.
- Get an emergency kit – Prepare emergency kits with basic supplies that will enable you to be self-sufficient for 72 hours. Complete emergency kits checklists can be found at www.getprepared.ca.
Everyone should prepare a basic emergency kit for their home and vehicle. The kits should be easy to carry and in an accessible place with necessities such as water; extra clothing, shoes and blankets; a shovel, ice scraper and snow brush; non-perishable food; a manual can opener; wind-up or battery powered flashlight and radio; extra batteries; first aid kit; cash; roadmaps; extra keys for vehicles and home; emergency plan; rope; jumper cables; fire extinguisher; a whistle; warning light; sand, salt or cat litter; RV antifreeze; candles and matches; and medications.