Does anyone know what to do if a tornado hits?
Chances are that they will in Wellington County because many people have already been through several of them over the past few decades.
As devastating as any disaster is, there are steps people can take to alleviate their suffering.
The national Emergency Preparedness Week runs May 4 to 10 this year. County Community Emergency Management Coordinator Linda Dickson is encouraging residents to educate themselves about the risks in their community, and to learn how they can prepare and protect themselves in an emergency.
“Making yourself aware of potential hazards in your community is the first step to ensuring the safety of yourself and your family,” Dickson said in a press release.
She urged people to plan ahead, and strongly recommended they have an emergency preparedness kit. She said most major difficulties occur within 72 hours of a disaster, so that is what people should plan for.
“Understanding how to care for yourself and your family during this time is essential,” she said. “Become disaster-resilient.”
Dickson strongly recommends a family emergency plan so everyone will know what to do in case of an emergency.
It will take you about 20 minutes to complete.
See the websites listed below.
The plan can include:
– safe exits from home and neighbourhood;
– meeting places to reunite with family or roommates;
– a designated person to pick up children should parents not be unavailable;
– contact persons, close-by and out-of-town;
– health information;
– a place for a pet to stay;
– risks in the region; and
– the location of a fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve, and floor drain.
In case of a major event, people will need some basic supplies ready.
That way they will always be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours while emergency workers focus on people in urgent need.
Many of the items required in an emergency kit are found in most people’s homes. It is just a question of taking some time and putting them together as an emergency kit.
That kit might already be assembled in many people’s homes. It includes; a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food, water, and blankets.
The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find, and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case the home must be evacuated.
Here are some other ways a kit can help.
Easy to carry – think of ways to pack an emergency kit so those on the emergency plan can easily take the items with them, if necessary;
Water – two litres of water per person per day (include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order);
Food – that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars, and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year);
– a manual can opener;
– flashlight and batteries;
– a battery–powered or wind–up radio (and extra batteries)
– a First Aid kit
– Special needs items – such as prescription medications, infant formula, or equipment for people with disabilities;
– Extra keys – for the car and house;
– Cash – include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for pay phones, because ATMs and credit and debit card machines might not be functioning; and
– include a copy of the emergency plan and ensure it contains in–town and out-of-town contact information.
For information visit any one of the 14 Wellington County library branches during the week of May 5 to 11.
For details about the emergency plan or kits, visit: www.epweek.ca, www.wellington.ca, or www.getprepared.ca.