Emergency Preparedness

Natural disasters make the news around the world and they do happen in locations such as Nelson. While no one can predict an emergency, it is important to plan for a variety of possibilities. All capable adults should be prepared for unforeseen emergencies, and should prepare their family in advance, so they will not be frightened if a real event takes place. Your personal plan can make a significant difference to you and your family's well being.

Anticipate

Some emergencies to prepare for are:

Get it together

You can plan for an emergency by preparing the following:

Emergency preparedness checklist:

  • Post 9-1-1 and other emergency telephone numbers prominently in your home. Teach your children how and when to call for help. Remember to use 9-1-1 only in a true emergency. When you call 9-1-1, be prepared to state the nature of the emergency, what emergency service is needed (police or fire or ambulance), where it is needed and who you are. Stay on the line and follow the instructions of the emergency operator.
  • Do not use the telephone during or after a large disaster unless it is absolutely necessary. Emergency services will need all available telephone capacity. Non-emergency calls may overload the telephone system.
  • In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your home within seconds. Thus, develop an emergency escape plan and practise it often with your family.
  • In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Hazard-proof your home by securing shelves and placing large, heavy objects on lower shelves. Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds. Store flammable products away from heat sources. Secure the water heater to wall studs. Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.
  • Learn first-aid and CPR. Courses are available through the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Selkirk College Continuing Education and other community agencies.
  • Prepare an emergency survival kit for each member of your family and keep it in a convenient place near an exit. If you have kids, involve them in preparing the list, so they will know what to expect should they need to ever use the kit. If you have ever been camping overnight, you've likely already put together a similar kit:
    • first-aid supplies and necessary medication, including prescription medication
    • extra eye glasses
    • candles and matches or a lighter (not for children)
    • non-perishable, ready to eat, nutritious foods that you like. Don't forget food for your pets. Use plastic snap-top containers or glass jars with lids to protect foods from pests.
    • drinking water-at least one litre per person, per day
    • blanket or sleeping bag
    • change of clothing, raingear, and footwear suitable for the weather
    • flashlight and battery-powered radio and extra batteries for both. Better yet, invest in a hand-powered or crank flashlight and radio.
    • extra keys and cash
    • copies of important papers and phone numbers and recent photos of family members
    • toilet paper, garbage bags, utility knife
    • whistle (in case you need to attract attention)
    • playing cards, small games

The kit should be designed sustain each person for at least three days. Keep the kit in a backpack or duffel bag that can be easily carried. Check the kit periodically and replace the products with expired best before dates.

  • In a serious emergency, you may be asked to leave your home. Lock your house, leave immediately and take your emergency survival kit with you. Wear protective clothing and footwear. Listen to a radio or television for the location of emergency shelters and follow instructions, including routes specified by local emergency officials.
  • Have an established meeting place and message point for members of your family who may become separated during an emergency. Consider a family friend or relative in a nearby community. If you go to an evacuation centre, register there so you can be located and accounted for.
  • Keep your vehicle gas tanks at least half full at all times in case you have to evacuate and gas is not available.
  • Have an emergency kit in each vehicle. This kit should contain:
    • ice scraper and brush
    • shovel and sand or kitty litter (the non-clumping kind)
    • blanket
    • candles and a deep can in which to burn them
    • matches
    • tow chain and booster cables
    • warning light or flares
    • flashlight and batteries (consider battery-free options)
    • warm hat and footwear
    • first-aid kit
    • road maps
    • fire extinguisher

Communication During an Emergency

During an emergency, warnings, updates or other information may be broadcast on local radio stations and Internet providers. Instructions may also be delivered personally by emergency personnel or telephoned by automated dialling equipment. Having a hand-powered or battery-powered radio (with a supply of fresh batteries) is essential in the event of a power outage or evacuation.

Weather information can be obtained on the Weather Network or on local radio and TV newscasts.

For more information on planning for emergencies, please call Nelson Fire & Rescue Services at (250) 352-3103.

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