There’s no denying that this has been a rough summer for severe weather in Canada. In Saskatchewan, thousands were evacuated from their homes due to raging wild fires, fueled by dry weather, that have devastated about 400,000 hectares of land; some still haven’t been able to return. And in British Columbia, unusually hot and dry weather is fueling more fires. The number of active wild fires currently burning in the province is sitting around 130, with evacuation alerts in effect for dozens of homes. Flash flooding has also been a concern for many regions this season, including Calgary and parts of Manitoba.
All of this got me thinking about what I would do if I were ever in a severe weather situation. After seeing the dramatic photos of wildfires and floods in Western Canada, I find myself worrying about severe weather and wondering what I can do to protect myself.
The idea of severe weather can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. You can prepare now, so you’re ready later.
IBC has a wealth of information available online to make emergency preparedness as easy as possible. A good start is to take a look at IBC’s Top 10 Tips for Emergency Preparedness. How many can you check off on the list?
1. Create an emergency preparedness plan.
2. Assemble disaster safety kits for your home, car and office.
3. Be sure to have water.
4. Know your home’s exits and nearby safe meeting locations.
5. Talk to your neighbours – plan ahead to share your responsibilities.
6. Have detailed current contact lists for work and school.
7. Prepare a detailed home inventory.
8. If you will be away for a while, have someone check your property.
9. Put all important documents in a safe and accessible place.
10. Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you understand your coverage.
How did you do? If you’re like me and are feeling a little underprepared, you are in luck. More tips and detailed information are available from IBC. For example, IBC has created a video that outlines exactly what to include in an emergency kit.
You can use this checklist when assembling your own emergency kit:
2 litres of water per person, per day (small bottles are easier to carry in case of an evacuation order)
Canned food, energy bars and other non-perishables
Manual can opener
Flashlight and batteries
Battery-powered or wind-up radio and extra batteries
First aid kit
Special needs items
Prescription medications, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities
Extra keys for your car and house
Include change and smaller bills
Include a hard copy of your emergency plan and ensure it lists in-town and out-of-town contacts
for more information and tips so you’re prepared for whatever nature sends your way.
Jacqueline Tucci, Communications & Events Specialist, IBC