All it takes is three simple steps to get prepared for emergencies:
1. Know the risks
Although the consequences of different disasters can be alike, knowing the risks in your region can help you better prepare. In Hamilton, we face a number of hazards, such as floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes. In addition to natural disasters, there are other types of risks, such as power outages and industrial or transportation accidents.
Top risks in Hamilton include:
- Hazardous Materials Incident/Spills – Fixed Site Incident
- Hazardous Materials Incident/Spills – Transportation Incident
- Human Health Emergency
- Energy Emergency (Supply)
- Extreme Ice Storm
- Explosion & Fire
- Transportation Emergency - Rail
- Critical Infrastructure – Telecommunications
- Active Shooter / Violent Situation
2. Make a plan
For a basic household plan you should:
- Keep emergency numbers handy
- Choose an out of town contact
- Home escape plan
- Draw a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits. Plan a main and alternate exit route.
- If you live in an apartment, show everyone in your family where the emergency exit and fire alarms are and how to use them
- Practice emergency evacuations
Preparing for an emergency is important and something the whole family can do. By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies and minimize the impact on yourself and your family.
Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during and after an emergency. Meet as a family to develop your plan. If you live alone, develop a plan and talk with neighbours and friends about your plan.
Every family should have an emergency plan. Create your own plan online.
Learn about the emergency evacuation plans in place and what you will need to do. You may want to have some basic supplies at work, such as water and food that won’t spoil, in case you need to stay put for a while.
Check with your employer about workplace emergency plans, including:
- Fire alarms
- Emergency exits
- Meeting points
- Designated safety personnel or floor wardens.
Plan for children
- Ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency.
- Find out what type of authorization the school or daycare requires to release your children to a designated person if you can’t pick them up.
- Make sure the school or daycare has updated contact information for parents, caregivers and designated persons.
Plan for seniors
Discuss your plan with family and friends and teach others about any special needs you may have. Think of what you will need if you are away from the home for 3 days or more. Prepare a kit to take with you that includes contact numbers, medications and special needs supplies.
Arrange for someone to check on you during an emergency. If you have a pet or service animal ensure you have supplies for them too.
Plans for pets
In case of an evacuation, remember that pets may not be allowed in some hotels. In case of an evacuation, prepare to take your pets with you to the home of a relative or friend, or take steps to identify pet-friendly hotels or pet boarding facilities in your area and further away from home.
3. Get an emergency kit
Prepare now. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen. Make your plan and create your kit to prepare yourself and your loved ones. Remember to check it regularly for expiration dates. In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Keep your kit in a backpack or suitcase with wheels in an easy-to-reach, accessible location such as a front hall closet. Ensure that everyone in the household knows where the emergency kit is.
Basic kit items
For a basic kit you will need:
- Water - have at least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order. Change your stored water supply every six months to ensure it stays fresh
- Food that won’t spoil, such as:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned or tetra packed juices, milk and soup
- Staples such as sugar, salt, pepper, spices
- High energy foods such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants, elderly people or people on special diets
- Comfort or stress foods such as cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate
- Manual can-opener, pocket knife or multi-tool
- Crank or battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries. Replace batteries once a year
- Crank or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) or weather radio
- First aid kit
- Extra keys for your car and house
- Cell phone with chargers, a copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones
- Keep photocopies of important family records and documents in a waterproof, portable container
- If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, spare eyeglasses, infant supplies, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs).
Additional items to add to your kit
Recommended additional items include:
- Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
- Candles and matches or lighter (place candles in deep, sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
- Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
- Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags
- Toilet paper
- Water purifying tablets
- Map of the city
- Playing cards, games
- Basic tools such as hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife
- A whistle in case you need to attract attention
- Duct tape to tape up windows, doors and air vents
For individuals with disabilities or special needs
- If you use a mobility device, include a tire patch kit, can of seal-in-air product, supply of inner tubes, pair of heavy gloves and a spare deep-cycle battery for motorized wheelchair or scooter.
- If you have a visual impairment, include an extra cane, talking or Braille clock and any reading devices or assistive technology to access information.
- Assistive devices and any other contingency supplies unique to your special needs.
- If you have a hearing impairment include extra writing pads and pencils for communication, pre-printed key phrases you would use during an emergency, and extra batteries for assistive devices.
- If you have a service animal ensure you create a pet emergency kit for them.
Car emergency kit
You should also consider keeping an emergency kit in your car. Items should include:
- Food that won’t spoil such as energy bars
- Extra clothing and shoes
- First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
- Warning light or flares
- Fire extinguisher
- Shovel and scraper
- Contact numbers
- Sand, salt or cat litter
- Windshield washer fluid
- Tow rope and jumper cables
- Road map
- Flashlight and batteries
Pet emergency kit
You should also consider your pets as they can require different items than your emergency kit. Items should include:
- Food and bowls
- Can opener
- Current pet photos
- Litter pans, bags and scoop
- Medications and medical records
- Leashes, harness or carrier
- Information on feeding schedules and behaviour
- List of boarding facilities and pet-friendly hotels
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