Depending in which region of Canada you live, your family may confront natural emergencies ranging from severe storms to wildfires. Canadians can also encounter such emergencies as bomb threats. Being prepared can make all the difference when faced with a serious situation that requires quick thinking and immediate action.
It’s very important to know and understand the risks that affect the region you live in. Get Prepared Canada lists natural hazards — such as tornadoes, avalanches and wildfires — and what to do in the event of each type of emergency. It also lists possible hazards by province and territory, and detailed information on other emergencies — such as bomb threats, nuclear disasters and influenza pandemics — is available. Becoming familiar with potential threats and educating your family on how to deal with such emergencies is the first step to being properly prepared.
Having a family plan will help make emergencies a little less scary. According to Get Prepared Canada, some items to discuss include identifying safe exits from your house and neighbourhood, planning where to meet, health and insurance documentation, pickup of children if they’re not at home, arrangements for pets, and location of such items as fire extinguishers, water valves and electrical panels.
Just as you stow an emergency kit in your car, so should your family home be equipped with a stash of basic supplies in case an unforeseen situation occurs. The basics for a 72-hour period include the following:
- Water (2 litres per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable)
- Manual can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Radio (battery-powered or wind-up)
- Prescriptions (and other medication)
- Infant formula (if necessary)
- Extra keys (car and house)
- Cash (bills and coins)
- Copy of family emergency plan
Additional supplies might include blankets, extra clothing, toilet paper, candles and matches, hand sanitizer, personal hygiene items, utensils, garbage bags, chlorine bleach, set of tools, small fuel-powered stove, whistle and duct tape.
In the case of some emergencies, it is imperative to listen to your radio to find out what authorities want you to do. You may be told to take shelter inside your home or to evacuate.
Following an emergency, Get Prepared Canada suggests families take stock of any injuries, treat them with first aid and try to get help if necessary. It is also important to check on neighbours, the elderly and those with disabilities. Pets should be secured for their own safety. Remember to leave phone lines free except to report serious injuries. If damage has been done, be sure to put on protective clothing and good shoes or boots. Check for gas leaks before using matches. Be aware of refrigerator contents going bad in a prolonged power outage. Leave unsafe structures, and do not venture back inside. Outside, avoid damaged areas and downed power lines.