County urges participation in Emergency Preparedness Week

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.

Emergency kits

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.­, www.­well­ing­ton.­ca, or www.­