Emergency Preparedness Week (EP Week) is an annual, nationwide event that encourages Canadians to be proactive in planning for potential emergencies. This year, EP week runs from May 3 to 9, 2020. Haldimand County Emergency Services is encouraging all residents to spend some time creating a family emergency plan and assembling a 72-hour emergency kit.
“Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. We’ve seen this firsthand with the emergence of COVID-19,” said Don Otterman, Deputy Chief, Paramedic Services. “Emergencies aren’t always environmental and can take many forms. In order to be prepared, every resident should have a plan and an emergency kit ready to take care of themselves and their family for at least 72 hours,” he added.
72-hour 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), medications, towels, rope and garbage bags among other necessities.
Otterman emphasized the importance of including children in emergency readiness discussions and planning, so they know what to expect should a dire situation arise. “With ample time at home these days, there’s no better time to sit down with your whole family, make a plan and assemble a kit. You can even turn it into a fun activity and allow kids to be active participants in planning,” he added.
For an emergency plan to be successful, 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 outlets, the County website and County social media accounts (Facebook & Twitter). Specific instructions and timely updates from emergency officials (e.g: evacuation information) will be shared through these channels.
Emergency preparedness resources – including a 72 hour kit and evacuation checklist – 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.