Emergencies can happen at any time and often without warning. As extreme weather events such as severe storms or flooding appear to be increasingly frequent and intense, more Canadians are having first-hand experiences with them. While no one wants to go through an emergency, there are a few things you can do to make the best of the tough situation and ride it out safely. Here’s what you need to know.
Keep yourself safe
Your own safety is your top priority during an emergency. During severe weather events, shelter inside away from windows, doors and fireplaces. If you’re driving, pull over away from trees or power lines and stay inside your vehicle if it’s safe to do so. Make sure you have put together an emergency plan and kit, as they are important tools that can help you stay safe during an emergency.
Follow the plan
Public Safety Canada recommends every Canadian household have an emergency plan. It should include details such as: what to do for likely weather events in your area; emergency exits and safe routes out of your home and neighbourhood; meeting points and contacts in case your family isn’t together at the time of the event; as well as copies of important documents like birth certificates, land deeds and insurance information; even include places for your pet to stay. In an emergency, you can locate your plan and use the relevant information.
Use the kit
In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies ready to go in your emergency kit, and you may need to get by without power or tap water. Your kit should have supplies for everyone who lives with you for several days. Keep it on hand so you can grab flashlights if the power goes out or leave quickly if you are directed to evacuate. Make sure your kit is organized and easy to find. You may also buy a pre-assembled emergency kit or a car kit online and in various stores throughout the country.
During an emergency, first responders and local government will evaluate the situation and jump into action, as required. Follow official alerts and news stories on the radio, television or internet to keep up with their directions and stay informed. This is important in case the situation changes and you need to evacuate. A windup radio and extra battery packs in your emergency kit can be especially helpful to stay connected if you lose power. Use your cellphone to get in touch with family and friends if you can, but aim to keep landlines clear and reserve 911 for true emergencies.
Make your emergency plan online or find tips on how you can be ready in case a disaster happens at getprepared.ca.