Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada takes place May 1 to 7, 2022. This year’s theme is Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything. The Town of Bracebridge Fire Department will be sharing emergency preparedness resources and reminders throughout the week through Twitter (@bracebridgefire) and Facebook (@townbracebridge).
Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk and the impact of whatever emergency we might face.
Emergency Preparedness Week encourages Canadians to take concrete actions to be better prepared to protect themselves and their families during emergencies. This special week is a national effort lead by Public Safety Canada, provincial and territorial emergency management organizations, Indigenous organizations, non-governmental organizations, and private sector.
Murray Medley, Fire Chief and Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC) for the Town of Bracebridge is encouraging residents to take two actions as soon as possible, “We know too well in Bracebridge that we can find ourselves in difficult situations such as flooding or prolonged power outages with little notice. I would like to see every family become better prepared by putting together an emergency kit and signing up for the new Voyent Alert emergency notification app. Checking these actions off of your to-do list will give you peace of mind that your family is ready if the need arises.”
By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere. It is important to:
- Know the risks – Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to our community and our region can help you better prepare;
- Make a plan – It will help you and your family know what to do; and
- Get an emergency kit – During an emergency, we will all need some basic supplies. We may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in an emergency.
Building an Emergency 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.
You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery-operated or crank 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.
A Basic Emergency Kit includes the following items:
- Water – at least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order;
Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year);
Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries). Replace batteries once a year;
Crank, battery-powered radio (and extra batteries) or Weather Radio;
First aid kit;
Extra keys to your car and house;
Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones;
A copy of your emergency plan and contact information; and
If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs).
In addition, consider adding the following to your emergency kit:
- 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;
- Hand sanitizer;
- Garbage bags;
- Toilet paper;
- Water purifying tablets;
- Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work gloves, dust mask, pocket knife);
- A whistle (in case you need to attract attention); and
- Duct tape (to tape up windows, doors, air vents, etc.).
If you think your water is contaminated, check with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit – Drinking Water Advisories page for details. When in doubt, do not drink water you suspect may be contaminated.
Keep some cash on hand, as automated bank machines and their networks may not work during an emergency. You may have difficulty using debit or credit cards.
This week, residents are encouraged to take concrete actions to be better prepared. Experience has shown that individual preparedness goes a long way to help people cope better – both during and after a major disaster. Get an emergency kit now – it can make a world of difference.
Voyent Alert! App
In 2021, the Muskoka Emergency Response Committee (MERC) launched #AlertMuskoka, an important new notification tool powered by the Voyent Alert! System. This free community alerting app makes it easy for residents across Muskoka to quickly receive important information during critical incidents and emergency situations.
By downloading the Voyent Alert! app and registering, residents and visitors can select to receive notifications from a wide variety of communication channels, including mobile apps, text/SMS alerting, email or voice calling. Any event or communication related to your tracked locations will be forwarded to you along your preferred communication channel(s). Smart alerting capabilities ensure that you will only get notified when a communication is relevant to you or one of the locations you are tracking. Registration is completely free, easy to do, and completely anonymous. For more information, please visit: www.muskoka.on.ca/alertmuskoka.