Ahead of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11, 2019), Haldimand County Emergency Services is urging residents to be emergency ready by learning more about area risks, creating a plan and assembling an emergency preparedness kit. On May 10 from 2-4pm, residents are invited to drop by Emergency Services headquarters in Cayuga to chat with staff, ask questions and get emergency planning tips.
Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual, nationwide event that encourages Canadians to be proactive in planning for potential emergencies. “Emergencies or disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Being prepared is critical since it can take time for help to arrive,” said Don Otterman, Deputy Chief, Paramedic Services. “Every resident should have a plan and an emergency preparedness kit ready to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours,” he added. Kits should include a variety of items including: a flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, water, a sewing kit, copies of important IDs (e.g: birth certificates), towels, rope and garbage bags among other necessities.
Haldimand County has an incredibly detailed Emergency Plan that is ready to be activated in the case of a disaster or emergency situation. “Emergency planning is a continuous activity for Haldimand County. Every year, staff participate in emergency simulation exercises that get staff thinking on their feet and practicing the duties they’d be required to carry out in the event of an actual disaster,” Otterman explained. “It’s not just first responders that participate, either – management and certain administrative staff have key roles to play in an emergency response, from implementing road closures to setting up evacuation centers and communicating information,” he added.
Otterman emphasized the importance of including children in emergency readiness discussions and planning, so they know what to expect should a dire situation arise. Every family member should have a role and know what to do. Parents are encouraged to utilize Haldimand County’s activity books to educate their children on what to do and how to stay calm in case of an emergency. Family pets should also be considered when making preparations.
Staying connected and informed is another important part of emergency preparedness. Knowing where to look for information and updates throughout an emergency situation is critically important. In addition to local radio – specifically 92.9 The Grand FM, the County’s emergency broadcast partner – residents should monitor local news (CHCH TV), the County website and its social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter). “In an evacuation scenario, residents may not have access to TV or radio. Under these circumstances, our website and social media accounts serve as critical communication channels,” Otterman noted.
Emergency preparedness resources are available on the Haldimand County website and GetPrepared.gc.ca. Anyone with questions related to emergency preparedness may also call
Haldimand County Emergency Services at 905-318-5932.