NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK
Since 1996, National Emergency Preparedness week happens each year in Canada for one week. This year, it’s being held from May 5-11.
This is a national awareness campaign and is a collaboration between the provinces, emergency organizations and other groups across the country. It’s a great time to make sure your workplace, and your home is equipped with an emergency plan and kit to stay safe if an emergency happens.
National Emergency Preparedness Week is meant to showcase the importance of being prepared for a range of emergencies—These three steps are recommended to prepare:
- Know the risks
- Make a plan
- Get an emergency kit
NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 1) KNOW THE RISKS
One of the most useful (yet simple) things you can do to be prepared for an emergency is to understand the region you live in. Natural disasters are a risk in Canada, and they can vary depending on which region you live in.
There are some risks other than natural disaster that are important to prepare for—These can include technological hazards, industrial or transportation accidents or power outages.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 2) MAKE A PLAN
It’s important to have a plan in-case of an emergency. You can have an emergency plan that works for a variety of different circumstances.
They plans might be different depending on your family, location and other factors. It doesn’t take long to create an emergency preparedness kit either—20 minutes is all it takes to ensure you, your workplace and family is safe in case of an emergency situation.
Some important things to keep in mind when creating your emergency plan are:
- Be familiar/Have copies of your provincial emergency response plan.
- Plan how your family/workforce will communicate with each other if an emergency happens and you’re not together
- Plan for specific risks like earthquakes, power outages and severe storms
- Keep people from your neighbourhood in mind that may need extra help during an emergency, for example, an elderly neighbour, and assign ‘block buddies’ for those who require one.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 3) GET AN EMERGENCY KIT
Emergency kits can be bought from places like Red Cross First Aid, the Salvation Army, or you can create you own.
We recommend looking at your emergency kit each year and be sure to replace the food inside.
Here are some additional items you might want to keep in your emergency kit (beyond the basic items found on the checklist above).
In your car:
- Candle & matches
- Spare clothes and shoes
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Flashlight (crank or battery-powered)—Replace batteries once a year
- Non-perishable food
- Contact information
- Radio—Replace batteries once a year
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
- Warning light or road flares
- Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid
- Fire extinguisher
- Road maps
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping)
- Tow rope and jumper cables
- Around 5,000 earthquakes happen in Canada each year.
- The Saguenay flood of 1996 was Canada’s first billion-dollar disaster and caused mud, rocks, water and trees to become dislodged and 12,000 people had to evacuate their homes.
- Only 40% of Canadians have an emergency kit prepared, yet 85% of Canadians say it’s important to have one.
- Hailstones range in size—They can be the size of peas or baseballs.
- Hurricanes can cause more widespread damage than tornadoes—Their damage can hit over 1,000 kilometres.
- In storms, power lines, ice or branches can fall even hours after the storm has ended.
- One of the worst storms in Canadian history was an ice storm on the East Coast in 1998—Power outages lasted up to 4 weeks, and restoration efforts cost nearly $3billion.
- In 2007, 410 severe weather events plagued the prairie provinces—This is almost double their nearly average of 221 severe weather events.
- The cost of natural disasters worldwide has increased by $7billion over the past decade.
- The biggest landslide in Canadian history saw a 40-metre deep scar that covered 80 city blocks in 1894 at Saint-Alban, Quebec.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS INSTRUCTIONS
We’ve given you a lot of tips about what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit. Here are more steps you can take for an emergency plan:
In an emergency:
- Follow your emergency plan
- Get your emergency kit
- Make sure you’re safe before assisting others
- Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities—Local officials might advise you to stay where you are. Follow their instructions!
- Stay where you are until it’s safe to evacuate.
- NOTE: Authorities won’t ask you to leave home unless they have a reason to believe you’re in danger
- If ordered to evacuate, take your emergency kit, wallet, personal identification for each family member and copies of essential family documents with you. Bring a celluar phone and spare battery or charger with you, if you have one. Use travel routes specified by local authorities.
- If you have time, call or e-mail your out-of-town contact (Here’s a printable list you can use to write down contact information)
- If there’s time, leave a note that tells others when you left and what you’ve shut off. If officials give the direction, shut off water and electricity.
- If you have a natural gas service, leave it on unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you do turn off the gas, the gas company will have to reconnect it—Note that in a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond in a major emergency.
- If you have them, take pets with you. Lock your home and follow instructions from authorities.
- If you go to an evacuation centre, register personal information at the registration desk—Leave only when authorities advise it’s safe.