With the recent devastating fire in Fort McMurray I thought it prudent to write about being organized and prepared for an emergency. You never know when an emergency will strike or where. I think back to the Mississauga train derailment in 1979 when 200,000 people were evacuated or the black out in 2003 that affected 10 million people by cutting power anywhere from several hours to a week and now the Fort McMurray fires. Each time there is an emergency Canadians are quick to open their homes and wallets to those in need but we all have to be ready as time is scarce when tragedy strikes.
On the Government of Canada’s website (getprepared.gc.ca) they suggest that you have enough supplies for you and your family to last 3 days. Food should be canned or dried or items that won’t spoil like energy bars and don’t forget a manual can opener. Have enough water (about 2 litres per person per day) to last each of you three days and have it stored in containers that are easy to transport.
Electricity normally goes out during an emergency so have a flashlight and batteries ready at all times.
There are a number of lights and radios that work on a crank that you can keep with your kit.
Some things you may not think of
Duct tape is Tim the Tool Man’s friend and it really can do a lot. Toss a roll into your emergency kit for sealing or holding things together. A small tool kit will probably come in handy with just the basics like a screwdriver, pliers, a hammer and a whistle can be used for summoning help.
First aid kit
A basic first aid kit is a must not just for you and your family.
You never know who you are going to come across who may need assistance. You can find them all over town or the Red Cross (http://www.shop.redcross.ca/) has kits you can purchase from them.
Keep it handy
Once you have your kit together pack it in a duffel bag or similar item that you can carry and make sure everyone knows where it is. Go through they kit every 2 or 3 months to take stock of what you have and replace any items that are no longer any good like food and batteries.
Make sure someone out of your immediate family knows your plans if you need to leave home so they can find you and keep a small amount of cash with you. Do not spend a lot of time rounding up personal things – they can always be replaced – but do take a fully charged phone with you along with medications that you will need. For more detailed information visit the Government of Canada’s website.
Canadians have always been generous in times of need and the Government of Canada has pledged to match all individual donations made to the Red Cross to help those affected by the wild fires. Give generously and be prepared.