Preparing for the worst does not mean that you believe it will happen. Rather, it protects you, your family and your community. By staying prepared, you can also help others deal with the after-effects of a disaster.
Tornados, floods, forest fires, landslides and severe storms can all significantly disrupt daily life. During a disaster, telephone, gas, electricity, and water services may be interrupted for days. Roads may be impassable, and stores and gas stations could be closed. Emergency services may be unavailable. Expect to take care of your family for at least three days and ideally up to two weeks. Being prepared will keep personal injury, damage, and discomfort to a minimum.
Include items for each family member in a backpack or duffel bag:
Other useful items
We cannot stop disasters from happening, but we can limit the damage by putting together a family emergency preparedness plan. Communication is the most important part of this plan. Each member of the family should be involved so that if disaster strikes, everyone knows what to do. How well you manage after a disaster depends a great deal on how prepared you are when it strikes. Planning and practicing what to do before an emergency can reduce fear and anxiety. Knowing you have stored essential supplies will help your peace of mind.
Making an effective plan includes the following:
There is a good chance that you would not be with your family when a disaster occurs. Identify both a neighborhood reunion site and an out-of-province contact person. This can help you to find where all family members are and how they are doing, and help you get back together.
When choosing a reunion site, decide on two or three places to go if you cannot stay at home. Possible sites are the home of a neighbor or nearby relative, or a local school, church or community centre. Family members who leave home should leave a note telling others where they have gone.
Being totally prepared can be expensive and takes time to achieve. The following suggestions may help:
Take a few minutes to record vital family information. Keep copies in two safe places, preferably fire and water-resistant. Store deeds, wills, tax records, birth certificates, and other vital documents in a safe place like a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
As a family, you can prepare for forecasted events like severe storms or floods, and for unexpected events like power loss or other emergency. You cannot control the weather, terrorism or other disasters. You can control how you respond and recover from an event.
Public Safety Canada (www.publicsafety.gc.ca) is a good source of information and also provides links to
provincial disaster management websites.
In the event of a disaster, your employer may require that you report to work. Your ability to respond will depend on how well you have prepared yourself and your family to survive a disaster. Before you can continue working, you will want to know that your family is safe. Being personally prepared for disaster is especially important for you - both to help your own family, and to allow you to serve others by being on the job.
You will need a complete first aid kit containing those things necessary to meet the needs of your family.
You can put together your own kit or purchase a ready-made one from a variety of sources including
St. John‚Äôs Ambulance (www.sja.ca) and Canadian Red Cross (www.redcross.ca).
Store your supplies in a cosmetic bag, fishing tackle box, toolbox, or even a small cardboard box with a handle. Tape a list of the contents to the inside of the lid. Your first aid kit should be stored out of children‚Äôs reach and where it can be accessed easily, preferably close to an outside exit.
Store prescription medications and copies of critical medical information in watertight bags in the refrigerator.
Plan to use this kit for your everyday first aid needs. As you replace items you use, you will be keeping them fresh. From time to time, check the dates on items and replace those that have expired.
It is helpful for your family to take a first-aid course and a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course.