May 5-11 is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada…what does this mean for you and your family?
EP is, for most people, another chore in their busy everyday “to-do” list. It shouldn’t be. Emergencies can happen at any time at to anyone. That is why they are called emergencies: they come unannounced, unsolicited, and they put you and your family to run, suffer and despair.
While you may have control over some potential emergencies (and you can even prevent them from happening), there are some others you won’t be able to prevent no matter what you do. However, you can control how you react to them and minimize the damages for your family and community.
There are many types of emergencies, from personal and small, to big ones that may affect a whole community.
The list includes fires, drowning, poisoning, burns, work accidents, car accidents, earthquakes, storms, long droughts, blackouts that last more than a few hours, and a long etc.
The best way to face an emergency is to think ahead and have everybody prepared. These are the things you can do:
- Take a First Aid. Much better if your entire family can take the course or at least the adults in the family.
- Teach your children and elders in your home how and when to call 911. The service is available in many languages.
- Take some time to make a house assessment: what areas of your house may be unsafe or prone to accidents? What procedures? For example, do you have loose wires, a malfunctioning electrical outlet or appliance, or a steep stair regularly used by children or elders? Do your family cook with lots of oil? Do you light candles at home often? Does somebody at home smokes?
- Start collecting the things you will need in an emergency kit (you will need an emergency kit for your house, one for your car and one for your workplace, but start with your house first)
- Create a family survival kit with non-perishable food, water, etc. (please see here for more details on what to include)
- How many sources of water does your family have? What if the water supply is suddenly contaminated or unavailable? (this can happen due to outbreaks, earthquakes, droughts and terrorist attacks) – Think about where you would be collecting from, and try to have enough water for your family to survive at least 72 hours (better if it is a week)
- How many sources does your family have to cook your food or keep the family warm? Think about alternatives: a BBQ, a camping stove, wood, etc.
- Does every member of your family have a “grab and go” kit? Click here to see what you should have in a “Grab-and-Go” Kit.
- Make a list of emergency numbers, such as local firefighters, police, poison, nurses line (811), other family members in Canada and friends and put it visible for all family to see, if possible in all the rooms of the house.
- Train your family to call an out-of-province number in case of earthquake and report their status. Agree on a place to meet and steps to follow if you are separated.
- Make sure each member of your family has a card with the above information and pictures of the other family members.
- Create a binder or box with all your family important documents and keep it safe. Make copies of the documents and keep them in a separate place of the house or at a friend’s house.
- Learn how to prepare and react for some of the most common emergencies in your region:
Get Prepared BC: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx
All Hazards Preparedness: http://embc.gov.bc.ca/em/hazard_preparedness/AllHazards_WEB.pdf
What a better way to celebrate EP Week than have your family prepared and safe?