28 May Be Citizen Ready: Get Prepared – Paramedic Services Week 2021 Blog Series
Natural disasters and emergencies can strike at any time, but if one occurred tomorrow, would you be prepared?
As it may take emergency workers some time to reach you, you should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours.
The Government of Ontario provides excellent emergency preparedness guidelines, which you can access here. Here is a high-level summary of what is recommended:
Step 1. Know the risks
Although the consequences of various disasters can be similar, knowing the risks in your region can help you better prepare. Across Canada, we face a number of different types of hazards. One example is the prevalence of tornadoes in Ontario. In addition to natural disasters, there are other types of risks, such as power outages and industrial or transportation accidents. You can find out what risks are most relevant to Ontario here.
Step 2. Make a plan
It is advised that every household has a written down emergency plan and supporting tools such as a fire extinguisher, carbon-dioxide detector, smoke alarm and first-aid kit. The plan and tools should be checked and updated annually. Written details should incorporate things such as emergency contact information, evacuation strategies including exits, meeting places and what to do with pets, copies of important documents, details of special health conditions, instructions on how to access and use the emergency safety tools as well as other important household utilities such as water, electricity and gas. See the Government of Ontario guidelines for more thorough instruction. You can Build a Plan directly via the site or feel free to use this fillable e-form that has been provided by Ferno in support of Paramedic Services Week.
Step 3. Build an emergency survival kit
In an emergency, you will need some basic supplies. You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery-operated or crank flashlight. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark?
Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is. Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet. If you have many people in your household, your emergency kit could get heavy. It’s a good idea to separate some of these supplies in backpacks. That way, your kit will be more portable and each person can personalize his or her own grab-and-go emergency kit. Having an emergency kit in your car is also recommended. See the Government of Ontario Guidelines for a full list of what to include.
Reference: Paramedic Chiefs of Canada, Government of Canada, Government of Ontario and Ferno.