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Getting ready for an emergency

Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency. It will take only 20 minutes to make your plan. Disasters often cause confusion and distress so it is important to take the time now to know the hazards and the risks to better prepare yourself and your family.


Emergency planning doesn’t have to be scary. Many families feel empowered after planning, knowing they can survive on their own. Remember to help children feel safe when talking about emergencies. Remind them that someone will be there to help in an emergency. Talk about people you can count on such as firefighters, police, teachers, neighbours and emergency workers.


A good first step is to put a list of emergency numbers by each telephone in your home. Tell your children what each number is for. You should also list the work and cell phone number for each person in your family or in your home.


What risks do we face?

Talk with your family about the different kinds of weather that can happen where you live. For example, do you have the risk of floods, tornadoes, wildfires, or ice storms? Use the list below to check off hazards that exist in your community. This will help you make a more specific emergency plan.
• Blackouts
• Proximity to dangerous goods route
• Earthquakes
• Floods
• Proximity to major industrial site
• Infectious disease outbreaks
• Severe weather
• Landslides or avalanches
• Tornadoes
• Wildfires
• Other:_____________________________

Your household plan

Know your emergency exits. Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room. Plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room. If you live in an apartment, plan to use the stairs instead of the elevators. If you are unable to use the stairs, notify emergency personnel ahead of time. Also, identify an evacuation route from your neighbourhood in case you need to leave in a hurry (and think of more than one option).


Pick meeting places. Identify safe places where everyone should meet if you cannot go home or you need to evacuate.


• What is a safe meeting place near your home?
• What is a safe meeting place outside your immediate neighbourhood?
• What are two evacuation routes from your neighbourhood?
• Is there a friend outside your town that could act as a liaison?

Everyone in your home should know where to find the fire extinguisher. All adults and older children should know how to use it. See instructions regarding the lifetime of your fire extinguisher and check with your local fire department for more information.


Older children and adults should know how to turn off your home’s water, electricity and gas. Make large, easy-to-see signs for water and gas shut-offs as well as for the breaker panel or fuse box.


Teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1 as well as how to call the designated out-of-town contact.


Workplace emergencies

Learn about the emergency evacuation plans in the workplace and your role in the event of an emergency. You may want to have some basic supplies at work such as water and food that won’t spoil. You are encouraged to have this dialogue with your employer and colleagues on a ongoing basis.


Plan for your children

Ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency. Find out what type of authorization the school or daycare requires to release your children to a designated person if you can’t pick them up. Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.


Plan for pets

In case of an evacuation, remember that pets are not allowed in some public shelters or hotels because of certain health regulations. In case of an evacuation, be prepared to leave your pets with a relative or friend. Take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in your area


What if we have special needs?

Establish a personal support network of friends, relatives, health-care providers, co-workers and neighbours who understand your special needs.


Write down details about:

• Accommodation needs
• Insurance information
• Allergies
• Medical conditions
• Emergency contacts
• Medication
• Family medical history
• Recent vaccinations
• Health screenings
• Surgeries


Keep a copy of this information in your emergency kit and give a copy to your personal support network.


Talk to your doctor about preparing a grab-and-go bag, if possible, with a two-week supply of medication and medical supplies. Include prescriptions and medical documents. Remember that pharmacies may be closed for some time, even after an emergency is over.


Neighbourhood safety plan

Work with your neighbours to identify people who may need extra help during an emergency. To help make sure everyone is taken care of, assign “block buddies.”


In an emergency

• Follow your emergency plan.
• Get your emergency kit.
• Make sure you are safe before assisting others.
• Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities. Local officials may advise you to stay where you are. Follow their instructions.
• Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.

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This great information was taken with permission from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Preparedness Week Campaign Kit
Download the brochure in its entirety here.


8 areas of emergency preparedness Water - Vital for Life Food - Sustain Your Health Shelter - Protect Yourself From The Elements First Aid - Saves Lives
8 areas of emergency preparedness Light - Diversification is Key Heat - Maintain Your Core Temperature Communication - Stay In Touch Sanitation - Often Overlooked