Making an emergency plan
Safety starts with planning ahead
Every household in Canada should have an emergency plan. By knowing what to do, you can help make a real emergency situation much less stressful for you and your family.
Take the time to review your emergency plan at least once a year with the entire family and, if necessary, update the plan. Make sure everybody has a copy of the emergency plan and that it's kept in an easy-to-find place. You may also want to make extra copies to keep in your car and/or at work.
What should an emergency plan include?
The following should be noted in your family's emergency plan:
Map at least two different ways to exit each room of your home. If you live in an apartment, don't plan to use the elevators.
Safe meeting places
If you have to leave your home quickly, pre-arrange to meet up with the rest of your family at a designated safe place. It should be on the same side of the street as your home -- this way you won't need to cross the street into traffic or in front of fire trucks or ambulances.
Emergency schooltime pickup
Choose someone to pick up your children if an emergency occurs during school hours and you can't go pick them up yourself. Make sure your kids' school or daycare has your most up-to-date contact information.
In an emergency, each family member should call or email the same out-of-town contact person. Choose someone who lives far enough away that he or she will most likely not be affected by the same event.
Write down any details about your family's medical conditions, allergies, surgeries, medications, medical history (including recent health screenings and vaccinations) and insurance information.
Protecting important personal documents
You should store copies of important documents like birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills and deeds in a safe place. For example, you might want to put them in a safety deposit box or give copies to out-of-town friends and family.
The best way to protect your pets in an emergency is to take them with you. This requires advance planning, as pets are not allowed in some public shelters or hotels. If possible, identify a list of 'pet-friendly' hotels, boarding facilities or emergency shelters.
Plans for different types of emergencies
Different regions in Canada face different risks. Is your hometown likely to be affected by floods? Earthquakes? Ice storms? Make sure your plan includes instructions specific to the kinds of emergencies likely to occur in your area.
How to find out about risks in your area
Visit the Get Prepared website to learn more about the potential environmental hazards found in your province, as well as steps your family can take to remain safe in case disaster strikes.
Fire extinguishers and other equipment
Make sure you have a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher in your home. If you live in an apartment, know where the fire alarms are located. As well, know the locations of and how to use any water valves, gas valves and electrical boxes in your home.
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