Over the last week I have been the recipient of several “end of the world” warning emails. We tend to get so many of these things that we treat them like most of the rest of our junk mail. I really don’t expect the world to end any time soon, but this latest bunch of emails got me thinking about what would happen to the human race if one of these things actually happened.
In the case of a disaster, the only people that would be left to represent the human race would be those paranoid individuals who had actually believed that the end of the world was imminent. There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with that but I’m not
sure what would
be a reasonable alternative. St. John’s ambulance sells an emergency preparedness kit in the form of a backpack in case you have to make a quick departure.
The province of Ontario has their own suggestions for seniors that could apply to pretty much anyone. The following are excerpts from that list.
Step 1: Make a Plan
In an emergency, you may not have access to everyday conveniences and you may be asked to evacuate your home. Thinking about what you would do is the first step to being prepared.
Your Plan Should Include
- Two safe locations in case you have to leave your home. One should be nearby, such as a local library or community centre. The other one should be farther away in case the emergency affects a large area.
- A family communications plan. During an emergency, local telephone lines and networks may not work. Identify one or two out-of-town contacts you and loved-ones can call to connect and share information.
- A list of the people in your personal support network. This includes all the people who will be able to help when you need it. Consider including family members, neighbours, and health-care and personal support workers.
- Contact service providers. If someone in your home gets routine treatment outside the home or support services at home, work with the service provider on a back-up plan.
- Have a buddy. Consider giving an extra set of keys to someone you trust and let them know where you keep your emergency kit. Arrange for that person to check on you during an emergency.
- Be ready to evacuate. Plan how you would travel to a safe location if evacuation was advised. Have an emergency survival kit ready (see Step 2).
- Plan for your pet(s). Often, only service animals are allowed at reception centres. If possible, identify someone who can take your pet(s) if you have to leave your home.
- Consider your living situation. Do you live in an isolated community? In a high-rise? Do you or someone you live with have limited mobility? Be familiar with evacuation plans, and talk to your building manager or neighbours to make special arrangements, if necessary.
When Your Plan Is Ready
- Discuss your plan with your family and friends.
- Teach others about any special needs, such as how to use medical equipment or administer medicine.
- Practice your plans with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.
- Be aware and follow instructions. Stay tuned to the news before and during an emergency. Follow the advice of first responders and officials.
Contact your local municipal office to find out what phone number to use to get more information during an emergency (211, 311 or other). Use 911 only when someone needs help right away to protect their health, safety or property. Also ask if they have a registry for “vulnerable persons” and whether you should be signed up.
Sign up for alerts. You can sign up online for free emergency alerts sent by email or text message. Visit www.ontario.ca/beprepared and follow the links.
Step 2: Build An Emergency Kit
Your emergency survival kit should have everything you need to be safe and take care of yourself and your family for at least three days. This checklist outlines all the essentials, items to meet your unique needs, and items to have ready in case you have to leave your home.
What to Put in Your Survival Kit
- Food & can opener (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for 3 days)
- Water (4 litres per person for each day)
- Radio (crank or battery-run)
- Extra batteries
- Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
- First-aid kit
- Important papers (identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
- Cash (and extra car keys)
- Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
- Medical supplies and equipment (cane, walker, hearing aid and batteries, breathing device, etc.)
- Prescription eyewear and footwear
- Dentures and supplies
- Pet food and supplies if you have a pet
Extra Supplies for Evacuation
- Clothes, shoes
- Sleeping bag or blanket
- Personal items (soap, toothpaste, other toiletries)
- Playing cards or travel game
- Place all these items in an easy-to-carry bag or case on wheels.
- Keep your emergency survival kit in a place that is easy to reach.
- Keep your cell phone or mobile device fully charged.
INFORMATION FOR MY EMERGENCY PLAN
Fill the following forms and keep in a location where you and others can find it. Update it as needed. Keep a copy in your emergency survival kit.
My Support Network
List the people who already assist you and others who could help you in an emergency: doctors, pharmacists, personal support workers, in-home health-care workers (including back-up providers), as well as family, friends, and neighbours.
My Safe Locations
In an emergency, you may need to leave your home. List two locations you would go to, one close, the other one farther away (outside your neighbourhood). Some examples include a local library, place of worship, or community centre.
My Family Communications Plan
In emergencies, local telephone and email networks can be affected. Identify someone outside your town/city that you and other family members can contact to connect and share information. If an out-of-town choice is not available, consider a community or cultural centre.
Important Medical Information
For each person in your household, note any medical conditions and special needs, as well as medications and devices.
Location of My Emergency Survival Kit
Make a note of where your kit is stored, so others can find it easily if they are assisting you.