Preparing For an Emergency
Emergency management is about saving lives, protecting sensitive natural areas, protecting property and businesses, and fostering resilient communities. The District's emergency management program collaborates with other emergency service providers and local Area Municipalities to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors to Muskoka in times of emergency.
What is Emergency Planning?
Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. Residents and visitors are encouraged to know the potential risks and hazards, and to plan ahead: be prepared!
Follow these three easy steps toward emergency preparedness for your family and household.
|STEP 1: Know the Risks|
- Risks and hazards may be imminent due to natural or manmade causes
- Know the potential risks for your area: severe storms, power outages, earthquakes or floods
- Accidents and hazards including hazardous material spills, explosions, water contamination and train derailments
- Disease and health outbreak risks. For more information on Pandemic Influenza, please visit the following sites: Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Pandemic Influenza , Government of Canada Pandemic Flu Site, Health Canada
- For more information on hazards and disasters in Canada, follow these links to the Atlas of Canada, The Canadian Disaster Database, hazards.ca and SOS Canadian Disasters
|STEP 2: Make a Plan|
|Do you know what to do in the event of an emergency? Do you have the resources needed for your family in the event of an emergency?
Creating an Emergency Plan for your household will help your family be prepared for what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate with each other in an emergency. To start: identify necessary steps to get prepared:
- Know the potential hazards that may affect your community
- Include information related to special needs you or your family may have (medication, individuals with disabilities, pets, etc.)
- Decide where your household will reunite after a disaster. Identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighbourhood, such as a library, community centre, or place of worship
- Identify all possible exit routes from your home and neighbourhood
- Designate an out-of-province friend or relative that household members can call if separated during a disaster. If phone circuits are busy, long-distance calls may be easier to make. This contact can help you communicate with others
- Practice your plan with all household members
|STEP 3: Prepare an Emergency Kit|
- Your emergency kit should have items for your family to remain safe and taken care of for at least three (3) days immediately following an emergency
- Kits can be purchased online or at many local businesses, including from the Red Cross, or make it yourself
- Pack the contents of your kit in a carry-on bag or backpack, something you can carry or transport with ease
- Check your kit twice per year for expiration dates, seasonal supplies, sizing of shoes and clothing packed, batteries that may need to be replaced, etc.
- Store your emergency kit in an easily accessible, easy to reach dry location. Ensure that all members of your household know where your kit is located
- Essentials you may need to include are non-perishable and easy to prepare foods, can opener, bottled water (4 litres per person per day), flashlights, candles and matches/lighter, crank radio, cell phone charger, batteries, blankets, whistle, extra cash and car keys, hand sanitizer, personal identification and important documentation (i.e. financial, mortgage and insurance records)
- Special consideration may be given to babies and small children (diapers, baby food, etc.), medical supplies and equipment, people with disabilities, and your pets
- Extra supplies may be included in the event an evacuation is required. Items may include clothes and shoes/boots, seasonal clothing such as hats and mittens, sleeping bags and blankets, toiletries, and items for entertainment such as playing cards, colour books and crayons, travel games and books
- Print materials like crosswords, word searches and card games are available from Emergency Management Ontario or from the District
- Ideas for Ages 1-6: Sesame Workshop, along with its project partners has created Let's Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies - together!
- Ideas for Ages 9-16: The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has developed Stop Disasters! a simulation for teens to learn about natural hazards and how to reduce their impact.
- The American College of Emergency Physicians has developed the Disaster Hero video game to help kids learn how to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies
- A list of books related to emergency preparedness for kids is available from the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- The Safely Home® program assists people who suffer from memory loss and helps police in returning them safely to their home. It is a nationwide program developed by the Alzheimer Society of Canada in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, EMO has launched its emergency preparedness video in American Sign Language (ASL)
- Residents who require power to operate medical equipment should contact their hydro provider and asked to be put on a list for priority restoration of their electricity following an outage. The District provides a service to residents who utilize home dialysis machines. By registering with the District Public Works department you can be provided with advance notice of scheduled service disruptions in your area
- The Canadian Conservation Institute has developed a website to help people protect their family heirlooms.
- For further emergency planning and preparedness information is available from Emergency Management Ontario
In Preparing for an Emergency we all Have a Role to Play