Everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves and their families for up to three days in the event of an emergency or disaster. No community is equipped to handle all the demands of a catastrophe so you can help your community by preparing yourself.
What is Emergency Preparedness? It is the process of planning ahead for disaster situations. It involves taking the necessary steps to ensure that you and your family can sustain yourselves for a minimum of 72 hours should you be cut off from outside aid.
How Can I Prepare for a Disaster? There are many things you can do to prepare for a disaster. One of the best things is to create an emergency survival kit and keep it in an easily accessible area. You should also make a family emergency plan and practice it often to ensure that everyone (even young children) know what to do when disaster strikes.
Steps to Building A Personal Emergency Plan Public Safety Canada has developed an Emergency Preparedness Guide to assist you in doing this; however, before you begin, take a few moments to consider the possible emergency situations or potential disasters you could face. These are situations and events that could impact you, your family or your neighbourhood or community. You may want to consider helping your neighbours do the same, especially those who are elderly or disabled. If you or members of your family have special needs or disabilities Emergency Management Ontario has developed an Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Special Needs and Disabilities to also help you in your planning.
A Family or Individual Emergency Plan Should Include:
- a communications plan
- meeting places outside the home
- an emergency kit
- learning about your community emergency plan and possible emergencies which could occur in your community
- learning about your work and your child's school emergency plans
- knowing what to do and what not to do during an emergency, and
- practicing or reviewing the plan once a year.
Where Can I Find More Information on Emergency Preparedness? There are many resources available concerning emergency preparedness. We have included links to a variety of websites that will provide you with valuable information on how to protect yourself and your family.
- Algoma Public Health
- Canadian Red Cross
- Environment Canada - Weather Office
- Emergency Management Ontario
- Health Canada
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Public Safety Canada - Emergency Management
- Traveller's Information
- Weather Network
Create an Emergency Communications Plan Choose an out-of-town contact whom your family can call or e-mail if separated during an emergency. The out-of-town contact can help you communicate with others. Make a list of your contact's telephone numbers (home, work, cellular or pager) and e-mail addresses and give a pocket-card to everyone in the family.
Establish a Meeting Place Identify two places to meet: one near your home and the other outside of your neighbourhood. This will save time and confusion should your home be affected or if your neighbourhood or community is evacuated.
Assemble an Emergency Supplies Kit This kit consists of essential supplies that you will need to have on hand in order to make you and your family more comfortable. You can compile two stocks of goods: "Ready-to-Go" if the emergency involves evacuation and "Ready-to-Stay" if you are unable to leave the house for several days. Click on the picture for an Emergency Kit Checklist.
Learn About Your Community Emergency Plan Make sure everyone in your home understands and is prepared for the risks and hazards facing Elliot Lake. Forest fire, electrical failure, human health emergency and ice and sleet storms have been identified as emergencies which could possibly befall Elliot Lake. Elliot Lake's Emergency Response Plan (ERP) makes provision for the extraordinary arrangements and measures that may have to be taken to protect public safety, meaning the health, welfare, and property, as well as the environmental and economic health of the residents, businesses, and visitors of the City of Elliot Lake when faced with an emergency beyond normal procedures.
Learn About the Emergency Plan for Your Work and Your Child's School or Day Care Centre Work: You will need to know if your workplace has planned for you to assist during an emergency and, if so, you will need to make extra arrangements for the safety and well-being of your family. Your family will need to know that you may not necessarily be available to them and your planning will have to incorporate your absence. School or Day Care: You need to know if your children will be kept at school until you or a designated adult can pick them up or whether they will be sent home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick up. Keep in mind that during times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls. Find out ahead of time what type of authorization the school requires to release a child to a designate should you not be able to collect your child yourself.
- Do help the injured.
- Do stay tuned to the radio and television. You will receive timely information about the situation at hand, and what you are required to do.
- Do follow the instructions of emergency officials. For example, if an evacuation is called, remember your personal safety is the most important thing.
- Do take your pets with you if you are evacuated. Remember that most shelters will not be able to accommodate animals.
- Do realize your own limitations and the limitations of your family members. If you are weak, don't try to lift or move anyone or try to walk through blizzards.
- Do call family and let them know where you are and that you are okay.
- Do call for assistance if there is a need to move someone immediately and you are unable to do so.
- Do try to ensure wherever possible without putting yourself at risk that your immediate neighbours are okay.
- Do keep your cell phone battery charger close by.
- Do recharge your cell phone, if possible, whenever you can.
- Do stay calm. You have prepared for this and have all the necessary supplies and plans to keep you going. You will be fine.
- Do keep the cell phone on and the ringer on loud.
- Don't tie up the telephone lines. Emergency officials need those lines to conduct business. Use the phone only if you are in need of emergency assistance.
- Don't venture out unless directed by emergency officials. Stay inside where it is warm and you have supplies. Be smart - is it really necessary to drive to the bank machine or to Uncle Fred's place during a blizzard?
- Don't forget to tell authorities if you have pets in your home that you cannot take with you.
- Don't take any elevators during an earthquake or fire - no exceptions!
- Don't evacuate unless you are told to do so by emergency personnel via radio or television, or door to door.
- Don't be afraid to call and ask for assistance if you need it!