To prepare your family to face an emergency such as a flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake or power outage, you should consider having an emergency plan and an emergency kit that will include all essential items to survive the first 72 hours following a disaster. We’ve also included information below on keeping a basic car emergency kit.
FOR THE HOME:
The Canadian Red Cross offers essentials tips to be better prepared and to recover from emergencies including information on:
- Knowing the Risks in your Community;
- Making an Emergency Plan;
- Essential Items to Include in an Emergency Kit;
- Downloading the Be Ready App;
- Checking-Out their Personal Disaster Infographics; and
- Finding Out What to do Before, During and After an Emergency or Disaster with specific information on earthquakes, flooding, home fires, heat waves, tornadoes, power outages and more.
It’s also important to include your children and youth when preparing your emergency plan and emergency kit. The Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website offers some important tips and strategies to help your child or youth prepare for an emergency, which include:
- Teaching your child about natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, ice storms, and blizzards –and what to do when they occur.
- Making a family emergency plan, and preparing an emergency kit together.
- Teaching your child what to do in case of a fire.
- Making sure your child knows what to do at school if an emergency happens.
- Helping your child cope by:
- Simply being there and making them feel safe.
- Taking their fears seriously and telling them that it’s okay to be scared.
- Explaining the events as best you can and acknowledging what’s frightening about what happened.
- Telling your child what you think and feel. Doing so helps them feel less alone if they know that their feelings are similar to yours.
- Maintaining familiar routines, like mealtimes and regular bedtime hours.
- While parents can play a huge role in helping children deal with anxiety, it may be helpful to talk to a professional such as a psychologist or social worker, who can help children understand and cope with their emotions.
Sesame Street also offers some very useful- and cute- Emergency Preparation Tool Kits with great videos for children on how to prepare for an emergency and their Let’s Get Ready: Planning Together for Emergencies – Family Guide.
FOR THE CAR:
Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and bitter cold: these are all conditions that can make driving difficult and even dangerous during winter.
If you are stuck in the snow, try to stay calm and follow the tips below:
- Don’t tire yourself out and don’t go out in the cold.
- Stay in your car.
- Let in fresh air by opening a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
- Keep the engine off as much as possible. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not obstructed by snow.
- Turn on the ceiling light; leaving your headlights or hazard lights on for too long will drain the battery.
- Move your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation. Stay awake.
- Keep an eye out for other cars and emergency responders.
- Dress warmly and try to keep clothing dry since wet clothing can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat.
Always have winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. A basic emergency car kit should contain the following:
- Food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars
- Water—plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes (replace them every six months)
- Extra clothing and shoes or boots
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
- Candle in a deep can and matches
- Wind‑up flashlight
- Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
- Copy of your emergency plan
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