Make an Emergency Plan
Every Lethbridge household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency. Your plan should focus on your household, workplace(s), children, pets, special health needs, assigning meeting locations, identifying emergency contacts and having your 72-hour kit ready!
You can create a plan in about 20 minutes; before getting started, you should be thinking about:
- Safe exits from home and neighborhood
- Meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
- Designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
- Contact persons close-by and out-of-town
- Places for your pet to stay
- Risks/hazards in your region
- Location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical panel, gas valve and floor drain
Download a copy of our City of Lethbridge Household Emergency Action Plan
Video: How to create a household action plan
Just like checking your household smoke detectors, it is important to complete annual checks on your household action plan to ensure all information is still correct. An annual check-in also allows for you and your family to review your plan and ask questions! Remember, practice makes perfect.
Get a Kit
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.
Video: Why should you have an emergency kit?
You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery-operated or wind-up flashlight.
The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark? Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is. Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front hall closet. If you have many people in your household, your emergency kit could get heavy.
It's a good idea to separate some of these supplies in backpacks. That way, your kit will be more portable and each person can personalize his or her own grab-and-go emergency kit.
- Since you don't know where you'll be when an emergency occurs, it's a good idea to prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles
- Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water and supplies for at least three days
- Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept
- For additional planning, you may want to consider having supplies for sheltering-in-place for up to two weeks
- This kit should be in one container and ready to "grab and go" in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
- Make sure you have food and water in the kit. Also, be sure to have comfortable walking shoes at your workplace in case an evacuation requires walking long distances
- In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle.
- This kit should contain food, water, first-aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies (warmer clothing, etc.)
Personalize your grab-and-go kit to include personal items
Video: What goes into your emergency kit
Additional Items to Consider Adding:
- Collapsible dishes
- Change of clothing (weather-specific)
- Additional pair of shoes
- Toilet paper
- Items to keep you busy such as playing cards, colouring books, or board games
- Flash drive with pictures and important documents
- Copy of your emergency plan
Video: How can you ensure your pets are safe when an emergency occurs?
Make sure you incorporate any pets with your planning! Your emergency plan should consider:
- How you will assemble and transport pets
- Where you will go and what you will bring for your pets
- What are your pet's stressors and how can you calm them?
- Is your pet friendly with people and animals?
- Does your pet have food and medication that require refrigeration?
- Be sure to include any emergency pet friendly contact lists which include hotels, kennels, shelters, family and friends outside of your community
The Animal Emergency Task Force (AETF) is a great resource for some additional tips for including pets in your emergency planning: http://aetf.ca/
Have questions about emergency preparedness for your livestock? Check out this great resource: Farm animals and livestock preparedness
Incidents can impact you in many ways, including financially. You may experience job loss, a medical emergency, unexpected home or auto repairs or may have unplanned travel expenses. Being prepared financially can give you peace of mind when unexpected events happen without taking on or adding to your debt, or dipping into savings or retirement funds.
Video: How can you be financially prepared for a disaster?
Connect with neighbors
Being prepared is not only about having the right supplies. Your ability to recover from unexpected situations also relies on your connections with others.
- Community members, such as neighbors, co-workers, and friends in the affected area are often first on-scene
- It is easier to ask for help when you know who is there
- If you are not already familiar with your neighbors, consider reaching out and making connections
Your mental health
Disasters can affect people in many ways. Sometimes we have emotional responses right away and sometimes they develop days, weeks, months or even years after.
Feelings of stress are normal, but some people can experience more distress and require help.
Monitor yourself and loved ones for signs of distress, which could include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional outbursts
- Depression or unexplained physical issues
If any of these signs appear, make sure to talk about them and seek advice from a professional.
Practising and maintaining your plan
Once you have developed your plan, you need to practice and maintain it. For example, ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct drills such as drop, cover, and hold on for earthquakes. Test fire alarms. Replace and update disaster supplies.