|Would you know what to do if an emergency occurred? Would your child, alone at home after school, know the proper procedures to follow if the weather suddenly turned threatening?|
These are the type of questions you need to ask when preparing your family emergency plan.
View Emergency Management Ontario's
Family Emergency Preparedness Video
The Five Steps
from Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada
1. Identify the risks
Prepare a list of the most common risks in your region and learn about the possible consequences of those risks. Then, walk around your house and identify dangers like heavy pictures hung loosely, toxic products, etc. Take any necessary corrective steps to secure your possessions and your home.
Does your insurance policy cover all the dangers that you might encounter? If you have doubts, call your agent and ask about each possible situation on your list.
2. Prepare your family emergency plan
Choose an out-of-area contact, someone each member of the family can call or e-mail in case of an emergency. This person can help family members stay in touch and get back together if they are separated. Be sure to pick someone who is far enough away so as not to be affected by the same situation.
Decide on temporary accommodation -- such as a friend's place or hotel -- where you can stay for a few days in case you are evacuated. This may also be where you will meet if you are separated during a disaster. When choosing your shelter, remember that bridges may be out and roads may be blocked. (Don't forget to plan for your pets -- they are not always welcome in emergency shelters or hotels.)
Use the Family Emergency Plan template to prepare your own family emergency plan. It need not take a lot of time.
Give a copy to each member of your family, your out-of-area contact, your children's school (possibly their usual sports facilities as well -- arena, pool, etc).
If you live in a residential facility or an apartment building, an emergency plan should be available on-site. Learn the procedures to follow and your role in case of an emergency. In case of a tornado, house fire or other unexpected incident, each member of the family should know what to do, step-by-step, in case you need to leave your home quickly. Practice your emergency home evacuation plan at least once a year, particularly if you have young children.
3. Assemble your emergency kits
Having essential items at hand will be a great comfort in an emergency. Many stores stock first aid kits for the home, trips, cars, outdoors, etc. You can also make your own. In the column to the right, there is the one developed in 2004 by the City of London based on information from Emergency Management Ontario.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada have information on their Emergency Preparedness Week website on emergency kits.
4. Check emergency plans…
At your children's school or daycare
In case of emergency, you should know if the school will keep your children until an authorized adult comes to get them or if they need to find their way home by themselves.
Determine what kind of authorization the school requires to release your child to your representative if you cannot get there yourself.
Ensure that the school knows your current contact information and that of the people authorized to collect your children for you. Give them a copy of your family emergency plan.
Find out about the emergency plans of your children's schools. Help your children understand all that they must do when an alarm goes off.
Find out about the emergency plan at your workplace. Ask questions: What would be your role in case of a disaster? What are the evacuation procedures? Is there an alternate work site in case of emergency?
Keep important numbers -- including fire, police, and ambulance -- near your telephone.
Contact your municipality to find out about local emergency plans. Ask about emergency shelters and evacuation procedures.
5. Practice as a family at least once a year
An emergency can happen anytime, anywhere. Practice often helps people feel less disoriented and better organized in case of a disaster -- even in the middle of the night or the middle of winter.
Have a family exercise
Show each member of the family where and how to turn off the water, electricity and gas in your home. (Prepare large, easy-to-see signs for water and gas shut-offs as well as the main circuit breaker.)
Each person should also know where to find the fire extinguisher and how to use it in case of fire (and the fire alarm in an apartment building).
Put yourself physically in each room of your home and practice evacuation (don't forget your emergency kit!).
Update your family emergency plan
Verify the telephone numbers and personal information of everyone on the plan.
Print updated copies for all the members of your family, your children's school and other frequently-used facilities as required.
Check the contents of your kits
Change the batteries in your flashlights and portable radio; replace spare batteries.
Replenish your emergency kits. Replace bottled water, ensure that all food is still safe to eat and that medicines have not expired.
Storms and other severe weather conditions or incidents
Explosions and fires
Hazardous material situations
Utility supply emergencies
Community health concerns such as a pandemic or other epidemic
Emergency Planning for Your Family:
The 5-step Guide fromPublic Safety & Emergency Preparedness Canada
Common Impacts of Disasters and Major Emergencies
There can be significant numbers of casualties and the safety of buildings and houses may be compromised, rubble may block areas making it dangerous or difficult to get out or walk around.
Community resources may be overwhelmed for the first 72 hours
Health services in hospitals and mental health resources in an affected community may become strained, maybe even overwhelmed. Know they are doing their very best under extraordinary circumstances. Health care facilities have emergency plans and might access additional resources, such as mobile hospitals or enlist the support of medical staff/facilities from neighbouring communities, provinces or the Government of Canada.
Law enforcement from local, provincial and federal levels might be involved following a terrorist attack due to the event's criminal nature.
Extensive media coverage, high public anxiety and social impacts could all continue for a prolonged period.
Workplaces and schools may be closed, and there might be restrictions on local, domestic and international travel.
You and your family or household may have to evacuate an area following routes specifically designated to ensure your safety.
Clean up and recovery operations could take many months.
72 Hours.. Is Your Family Prepared?
Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Learn how to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. Start now!
Download this guide.
72 Hour Emergency
Radio (battery or crank)
Spare Batteries for above
First Aid Kit
Candles, matches, lighter
Extra car keys and cash
Important Papers & ID
Food & Bottled Water
Clothing & Footwear
Whistle (to attract attention)
Playing cards, games
Bag to hold above items
Other Useful Equipment
Cutlery, can/bottle opener
Fuel and stove
Plastic garbage bags
Important contact information
Pet food, carrier, and supplies
You never know when some basic first aid techniques could help. Remember, it's NOT possible to learn all the skills necessary to save a life during an emergency. Call your local Canadian Red Cross or St. John Ambulance to find out about first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) courses offered in your area.