Snow measured in metres rarely happens. Rain measured in feet rarely happens. Out of control forest fires rarely happen. When disasters do strike, it causes a whole host of problems. We’re lucky that major storm systems are tracked and meteorologists keep us informed. However, other events things like microbursts, the sudden down draft of severe wind and rain, sudden fires due to dry weather, can happen anywhere and at any time. They are very hard to predict. That’s why it’s important to be prepared.
You should have an emergency kit, evacuation plans, and copies of all important documents stored at another location. Let’s look at each in turn.
What should you put into your emergency kit? Whatever you put into your emergency kit make sure you have enough to last 72 hours.
Your emergency kit should include:
- Water. Have at least a gallon per person per day
- Clothing and blankets
- A first-aid kit
- Food. Nonperishable and canned foods and a means to open them without electricity.
- Personal hygiene and sanitation items
- Emergency funds – usually cash, but cheques will help as well. NOT credit or debit cards because if the power is out you won’t be able to use them.
- Flashlights with lots of extra batteries
- Pens and notebooks to keep track of events and store important notes
Other things to consider are what special needs do you or your family members have? Such as medication. Do you have pets? What are their needs?
We live in a world where we have documents for everything, driver’s licences, health cards, birth certificates etc. So, you should make sure you have copes of all of them in a safe place in case the worst happens. Having electronic copies is a great idea, preferably on a USB storage device with password protection and stored offsite.
Related Read: 5 Tips to Winterize Your Home
Here are some documents you should have copies of in an emergency:
- Any important medical records for your family
- Home inventory of your contents – click here to download Erb and Erb’s inventory sheet
- Copies of home, auto, life or critical illness insurance policies that you may have
- Any legal and financial documents such as wills, deeds, birth certificates, health cards, bank account information, driver’s licences or ID cards like social insurance numbers
Finally, if the worst should happen and you need to leave your home have an emergency plan that every family member understands.
Your emergency plan should include:
- Find and designate a meeting area. This is important for everyone to know. Make sure it is far enough away from your home or potential impacted area
- A map of an evacuation route, detailing how people should get to a meeting place and what alternate routes there are
- Keep fuel in your car – especially during the winter as fuel lines could freeze if there’s low fuel in your car.
- Have a contact person outside of the potential affected area. Make sure everyone in your family has that person’s contact information
Just because we have no control over the weather, doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for the worst case scenario. A little planning will go a long way.
Do you have any comments or suggestions? We'd love to read them. Post in the comments below. Thanks for reading.
Click here to go back to the Winter 2014 Newsletter.