Expect The Unexpected
Floods. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Blizzards. Epidemics. Transportation accidents involving hazardous materials.
Air or rail crashes. Toxic or flammable gas leaks. Electrical power blackouts.
Building or structural collapse. Uncontrollable fires. Explosions.
Breakdown in flow of essential services or supplies.
The Emergency Management Act
An emergency is defined as “a situation caused by the forces of nature, an accident, an intentional act or otherwise that constitutes a danger of major proportions to life or property.”
Despite the best of precautions, no one can predict an emergency. Just about anything can happen at any time. The weather, for instance, can wreak havoc at a moment’s notice.
An important rule of thumb in any emergency situation is to stay calm.
The first rule of thumb is to be prepared. If you’re unprepared for a disaster, it can shatter your life.
If you are prepared, you will be able to cope with the situation at hand.
Plan for it
It’s wise to expect the unexpected and to plan for it. Knowing what to do when an emergency strikes will enable you to be in control.
You can help your community prepare for the demands of a disaster by preparing yourself. Remember, safety starts at home.
Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during and after an emergency. Have a family meeting to discuss how you can best prepare for an emergency. Don’t delay – do it today!
Your best protection in any emergency is knowing what to do. Read this Guidebook and act on its suggestions. (You might consider taking a first aid course, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Learn About Disasters
Find out what type of disasters can happen in your community. Know what to expect during each disaster.
Look At Your Situation
Hazard-proof your home. Anticipate what could go wrong in your home and take some precautions. Here are a few examples. Secure objects that could tip and start a fire, such as a water heater or gas appliances. If you live in a flood-prone area, remove all chemical products from the basement. Move irreplaceable belongings to upper floors.
Post Emergency Numbers
Keep a list of key telephone numbers and addresses near the phone. Use the handy reference in this Guidebook. (If there’s been a major disaster, use the phone only if it’s absolutely necessary. Emergency crews will need all available lines.)
Check Your Insurance
Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for the range of risks that might occur in your area.
Prepare a Family Disaster Survival Kit
Have a family survival kit that will keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least 3 days. Make sure everyone knows where to find the emergency survival kit. (Check the Family Emergency Supply Kit Section of this guide.)
Keep A Smaller Kit In Your Car
A blanket, extra clothing, a candle and matches can save your life. (Check the Car Survival Kit Section)
People with Special Needs
Living in a community can require assistance in the event of a major disaster, due to mobility problems, or physical, psychological or sensory disabilities.
Electric Life Support
If a member of the household is bedridden and requires constant medical care or has electrical life support equipment at home, discuss this NOW with the family physician or the City Emergency Coordinator.
Home Health Care Patients
Persons who receive home health care should discuss emergency plans with their care giver or home care agency. They should also check with their physician if prior arrangement would be necessary for evacuation to a hospital.
Choose an Out-of-Province Family Contact
Choose someone in another province to be your family’s contact, if possible. After the disaster, call your family contact if you get separated from your family. Make sure everyone memorizes this person’s name and telephone number.
Have a Show And Tell
If you live in a house or mobile home, teach members of your family where and how to shut off the water, electricity and gas supply. Make easy-to-see signs to place near the breaker panel (or main circuit breaker), gas and main water supply.
If you live in an apartment, show everyone in your family where the emergency exits is. Show them where the fire alarm is, and explain when and how to use it. In a fire or other emergency, don’t use the elevators. The elevator may not work if the power goes out.
Learn About Your Community’s Emergency Plans
Your children’s school and your workplace might have their own emergency plans. Find out what they are and how they apply to you. You may be separated from your family and need to know how to be reunited.
Beware Of Potential Emergency Situations
Heed weather warnings and avoid driving and other activities in hazardous weather conditions.
Know What to Do After A Disaster
Immediately following the emergency, you may be confused or disoriented. Stay calm and remember the following procedures.
Help the Injured
Use your first-aid kit (See the Survival Kit Section in this guide).
Listen To the Radio Or Television
Listen to your local radio or television station for instructions. A battery-powered radio will still work if the power is out.
Don’t Use the Telephone
Don’t use the telephone (including cellular telephones) unless it is absolutely necessary. Emergency crews will need all available lines.
Be Ready To Evacuate
If the emergency is serious enough, you may be asked to leave your home and go to a nearby evacuation centre.