Suddenly the whole house erupts in confusion. Someone banging on the front door has aroused you and your family from their sleep. The dog is barking, the kids are crying and in your half awake state you trudge downstairs to the front door. Through the front window you see the red and blue flashing lights of a police car and wonder what’s going on.
“Evening sir,” states a police officer. The police officer continues, “Sorry to wake you but there has been a major train derailment about a mile from your house. You and your family need to evacuate the area. You have 20 minutes to leave your home. Please hurry.” “Where do we go? How long will we be gone for,” you ask in shock. “I don’t know sir. Just please hurry and get your family to safety. Head to the school about 20 minutes from here. You’ll be given further instructions there.”
Thousands were displaced in Fort McMurray due to wild fires. In Saskatchewan there are devastating storms, forest fires, acts of terrorism and man made disasters that can strike with little or no warning. When faced with the situation above what would you do? For many it would be chaos as we try to grapple with the reality of leaving our home and having our lives turned upside down. Our neighbors in Alberta did just that they ran. But what if you live on the farm and are snowed in or left without power due to ice storms. What if we had a repeat of the big black out we had in Prince Albert.
Emergency Preparedness starts with you! Make sure that everyone in the family knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Hazard-proof your home – anticipate what could go wrong and take corrective action.
- Do you have a back up heat or power source?
Post emergency numbers – clearly beside the phone emergency and important family contact numbers
- Do you have a designated meeting area if you evacuate the home?
Check your insurance – what coverage do I have or need?
Prepare an emergency kit – some of the contents might be:
- Personal identification or important papers
- Medications and a battery powered radio
- Change of clothes, toiletries
- … And more!
Check the house before leaving
- Is everyone including family pets accounted for?
- Did you shut off the water, gas and electricity supplies?
- Did you secure the house and leave a visible note saying where you’ve gone?
Three simple steps: understand the risks, make a plan and have a kit. It sounds easy, it is easy but it’s up to you. In a large scale disaster lots of agencies will be there too help but you can help your family and potentially ease the burden on outside agencies with these simple actions.
This valuable link http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/for-home-and-family from the Red Cross should be your first place to start for some great resources. The Red Cross also has a great Be Ready App for your phone that gives you information, resources but you can sign up for emergency alerts too. http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/be-ready-app Don’t forget Saskatchewan Emergency Planning http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/emergency/saskalert Locally you can sign up to PA Alert http://www.paalert.ca/
Preparing for a disaster and knowing what to do doesn’t have to be complicated however your pre-planning is critical. Folks always think it will never happen to them, least of which will it happen when it’s forty below and snowing outside.
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