No one likes to consider the possibility of a disaster, be it natural or manmade. However, the reality is that such disasters do occur. In the event of a catastrophe, it could take first responders up to 72 hours to reach you. Would you be prepared to fend for yourself for at least that long?
Disaster preparedness can vastly improve the outcome for you and your family if the unthinkable were to occur. Let’s review a few simple steps recommended by Public Safety Canada to prepare you to hold out until assistance arrives.
Be Aware of Risks Related to Your Region
Whether you live in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada, there are certain risks inherent to your area, particularly at certain times of the year. Tornados, blizzards, flooding, severe storms and power outages are among the various risks for which you may need to prepare. Understanding which risks are most probable for your community will help you prepare for the likeliest disaster and be more prepared for any calamity.
Visit GetPrepared.ca to review a full list of disasters. Get the statistics on each type of disaster and find out which regions are most likely to be affected by it. Learn what to do before, during and after, in the event that particular disaster strikes your community.
Create a Plan of Action Should Disaster Strike
How would you escape your bedroom if fire barred you from opening the door? If you’re on a higher floor, how would you safely exit the window? If you’re separated from your children, would they know what to do? Perhaps you’ve given thought to these questions. That’s an excellent first step. However, it’s important to clearly communicate an emergency evacuation plan to every member of your family. Even small children should know what to do in the event of a fire.
When an emergency happens, we don’t always think clearly. Having your plan outlined in writing and accessible to every member of the family can be invaluable during times of distress. Keep printed and digital copies of your emergency plan in various locations, including a central location everyone knows.
Your plan of action should outline rendezvous points outside your home in case of an event like a fire. A rendezvous point outside of your community is also essential to prepare for an incident which forces you to evacuate the neighbourhood. Practice the plan with young children so they commit it to memory. This will help them to calmly execute the plan, in case they get separated from you.
Create an Emergency Kit
Whether a disaster forces you to hunker down in your home or garage for several days or forces you to evacuate your home and community, you’ll need to have a stash of supplies on hand. Store three days’ worth of non-perishable food items like canned or dried goods. Include at least two litres of water per family member during that three-day period. Large water jugs are an easy way to ensure there is enough water for everyone—including pets—if you are stuck in your home. However, if you must leave your home, smaller bottles are easier to transport. In addition to food and water, be sure to keep an emergency supply of medications.
Your emergency kit should be a portable grab and go bag. If you have a large family, it would be difficult to store enough supplies for everyone in a single, easily portable duffle bag. Instead, create a separate backpack for each family member that is tailored to their specific needs and that each member can easily transport.
A variety of additional items should be in the emergency kit, including a small amount of cash, a battery-operated flashlight and radio, a manual can opener and first aid supplies. Though not every creature comfort will fit in your grab and go bag, a variety of other items like toiletries should be stocked near your emergency kits. Garage shelving or garage cabinets are a great place to store your kits and additional emergency supplies.
For more info on how to prepare your family for a natural disaster, visit GetPrepared.ca. To learn more about how to maximize the storage capacity of your garage to better accommodate a stash of emergency supplies, visit NuvoGarage.com.