It seems every day there is some type of emergency event reported on the news. I am hoping to do a quick series of information days on Thursdays about emergency preparedness. While many things are common sense, it never hurts to go through a quick review. So a quick overview:
Who does what in an emergency?
When it comes to emergency preparedness and emergency management, we all have a role to play.
- You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours during an emergency. You should also understand the basic principles of first aid and safety.
Every disaster is a local disaster. Different levels of organizations respond progressively as an emergency escalates and their resources are needed. The first ones to respond are closest to the emergency.
- Report a fire
- Report a crime
- Save a life
For non-emergency calls, use the 310-RCMP number.
- Follow your emergency plan
- Get your emergency kit
- Make sure you are safe before assisting others.
- Listen to the radio or television for information from local officials and follow their instructions.
- Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.
You may be instructed to “shelter-in-place” if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. This means you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your emergency kit and make sure the radio is working.
- Go to an interior room that’s above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
- Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
- Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.
Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe you are in danger. Listen to them.
If you are ordered to evacuate, take:
- your emergency kit
- your emergency plan
- essential medications and copies of prescriptions
- a cellular phone (if you have one)
- your pets
Pets are not allowed in some emergency shelters, so plan in advance for a pet-friendly location.
Protect your home:
- Shut off water.
- Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off. (If you turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it. In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. You would be without gas for heating and cooking).
- Lock your home.
If you have time:
- Call or e-mail your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. (Once you are safe, let them know. Tell them if any family members have become separated.)
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.