By definition, emergencies happen when we don't expect them, often when families are not together, (and always at the worst possible moment). ... Think of this … maybe you have just heard the sound of screeching tires and the loud sound of vehicles colliding, followed swiftly by white cloud and a very unpleasant smell … suddenly, you think about your kids at school, or your elderly parents down the street …does everyone know what to do? …
Or perhaps you are camping ‘off the beaten trail’, when a severe storm strikes … a large tree has fallen across the road, you have some minor injuries and need help but your cell phone is not working… will you be okay until help arrives? … In the coming weeks your EMO will be sharing tips on how to prepare for, and deal with, emergency situations. We hope you will find their information useful.
In a large-scale emergency, it may take first responders some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours. You will likely have many of the necessary items already – food and water … medications … a battery operated flashlight … the key, however, is to be sure they are organized, easy to find, portable, (and that the batteries are good)!
Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone knows where it is. If you have several people in your family the kit will get heavy; it is a good idea to divide the supplies into separate backpacks. Depending upon the age of family members, each person might personalize their own grab and go kit.
- Drinking water – at least 2 litres per person per day. (Small bottles are easier to carry). (Replace every 6 mos.)
- Non perishable food such as energy bars, canned food, dried fruit, and snacks. (Replace annually)
- Manual can opener
- Crank or battery operated flashlight and radio. (Include extra batteries; replace annually).
- First Aid Kit
- Cash, (ATMs might be down)
- Extra set of house and car keys
- Special personal items such as prescription meds, infant formula, equipment for persons with disabilities, food and water for your pets, etc).
- Emergency contact information and a copy of your Emergency Plan – (more on this in future articles).
- More water – 2 additional litres per person per day for cooking and sanitation.
- Water purifying tablets, (available in ‘Camping’ Dept at Coop) candles, (and matches in a waterproof container or zip loc baggy).
- Warm blanket for each person
- Whistle – to attract attention
- Toiletries including hand sanitizer and toilet paper
- Basic tools such as hammer, pliers, pocket knife, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, duct tape.
- Garbage bags
In the next few months you will be seeing or hearing the term ‘CodeRED’ with increasing frequency. CodeRED is an emergency notification service designed to enhance existing alerting systems such as The Weather Network or Alert Ready. It has been implemented in several other municipalities in our province, including, most recently, the Town of Virden, the RM of Sifton and the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, and will soon be up and running throughout the Prairie View Municipality. CodeRED differs from other generic notification systems in that authorized local officials will be able to access the system, and in real time, communicate emergency alerts that relate directly to your geographical area, - alerts such as mandatory evacuations, chemical spills, emergency road closures, flood situations, tornado warnings, etc., pinpointed to very specific locations within our municipality.
The CodeRED database contains contact information found in regional phonebooks. The system however, has the ability to transmit emergency notifications by cell phone, text message, email, and social media, in addition to basic voice messaging by land-line. Residents will have the opportunity in the near future to ‘sign up’ to receive notifications by any combination of the above methods. Notably, CodeRED takes the security and privacy of your personal information very seriously and has guaranteed not to sell, trade, lease or loan any citizen provided data to third parties.
Please watch for more information regarding our CodeRED launch. We look forward to sharing more details on how the system works, how you will recognize CodeRED messages and what you should do if you receive a CodeRED alert.
How to prepare for a wildfire
If your community is surrounded by brush, grassland or forest, follow these instructions to prepare your home and family for potential wildfires.
- Prepare an emergency kit.
- Check for, and remove, fire hazards in and around your home, such as dried out branches, leaves and debris.
- Keep a good sprinkler in an accessible location.
- Learn fire safety techniques and teach them to members of your family.
- Have fire drills with your family on a regular basis.
- Maintain first-aid supplies to treat the injured until help arrives.
- Have an escape plan so that all members of the family know how to get out of the house quickly and safely.
- Have a emergency plan so family members can contact each other in case they are separated during an evacuation.
- Make sure all family members are familiar with the technique of "STOP, DROP, AND ROLL" in case of clothes catching on fire.
- Make sure every floor and all sleeping areas have smoke detectors.
- Consult with your local fire department about making your home fire-resistant.
- If you are on a farm/ranch, sheltering livestock may be the wrong thing to do because a wildfire could trap animals inside, causing them to burn alive. Leaving animals unsheltered is preferable, or if time and personal safety permits, evacuation away from the danger zone should be considered.
If you see a wildfire approaching your home
If you see a fire approaching your home or community, report it immediately by dialing 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. If it is safe, and there is time before the fire arrives, you should take the following action:
- Close all windows and doors in the house.
- Cover vents, windows, and other openings of the house with duct tape and/or precut pieces of plywood.
- Park your car, positioned forward out of the driveway. Keep car windows closed and have your valuables already packed in your car.
- Turn off propane or natural gas. Move any propane barbeques into the open, away from structures.
on the lights in the house, porch, garage and yard.
Inside the house, move combustible materials such as light curtains and furniture away from the windows.
- Place a ladder to the roof in the front of the house.
- Put lawn sprinklers on the roof of the house and turn on the water.
- Move all combustibles away from the house, including firewood and lawn furniture.
- Evacuate your family and pets to a safe location.
- Stay tuned to your local radio station for up-to-date information on the fire and possible road closures.
During a wildfire
- Monitor local radio stations.
- Be prepared to evacuate at any time. If told to evacuate, do so.
- Keep all doors and windows closed in your home.
- Remove flammable drapes, curtains, awnings or other window coverings.
- Keep lights on to aid visibility in case smoke fills the house.
- If sufficient water is available, turn sprinklers on to wet the roof and any water-proof valuables.
This information has been provided by the Prairie View Municipality Emergency Preparedness Committee. Please contact Liz Finch, Co-ordinator, if you have any questions.