October 12, 2016
By Gilbert Vanden Heuvel
Being prepared for emergencies broken down into simple steps.
We all make plans for different events. We plan for a weekend away by packing clothes and supplies we’ll need, we plan for a boat trip, we plan for a Thanksgiving meal by getting all the ingredients that will be required, but we seem to never get around to planning for emergencies. What’s more important than keeping you and your family safe?
Below is a short recount of a recent Fort McMurry story:
The flames of an out-of-control wildfire were bearing down on several neighbourhoods across the city, including his home of Abasand.
“By the time that she got there to pick me up, it was ‘you’ve got 20 minutes to get out of Abasand,’” says Dan. “Things were getting really real, real quick.”
That’s when Dan grabbed his emergency kit. He had just enough time to get dressed, pick up important documents from his safe, and choose a few clothes out of his closet.
More than 2,700 homes burned in Northern Alberta that day. For Dan it’s a day he’ll never forget, and a big reason he will always have his emergency kit ready to go.
If you’ve had an emergency kit in your home for a few years without using it, it can sometimes be easy to think ‘why is this taking up space in my house?’
People like Dan can tell you why.
He wasn’t expecting to be gone for long, but he was ready with things like water, flashlights, some food and a can opener.
“There [were] some really practical things in it that made things easier,” adds Dan. “Water is such an important thing because when you start getting stressed you will need more for hydration.”
Dan says now that he’s back in Fort McMurray he is adding an extra change of clothes, and another blanket to his kit.
He has some simple advice for others who may be putting off getting ready for an emergency.
“You never know when something’s going to come down,” says Dan. “I think it’s important for everyone to have [an emergency kit] in the house.”
Emergency Plan For Your Home
You probably don’t need to be convinced that you need to have an emergency plan. The issue is always getting it done. The job seems too complicated and big so we never start it.
How about getting the most basic elements done, so you feel safer in your home and around the farm. Keeping your family safe is always a high priority.
Below is a helpful guide to family preparedness produced by the Canadian government. Take a minute to watch and maybe discuss it with your family at supper tonight.
This website has lots of other good info including creating a home or car emergency kit. Click HERE to check it out.
Emergency Plan For Your Property
We now feel confident that the family will be safe. What about your whole property with it’s out building, sheds and any barns & animals you have. Preparing all that for emergencies seems like a HUGE job, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of emergency plan templates around to work from. A number of Albertan organizations and Oxford County both made simple to follow, but complete documents that help anyone create a personal plan for their property and/or farm . Here are some of the highlights.
Produce a list of your Emergency Contacts for your area and post at each telephone and in each of your family’s mobile phones.
Make a plan for fire and spill emergencies for your property. A basic plan is better then no plan. Make sure all family members and staff are familiar with it.
Draw a property/farm site map that will help emergency services arriving at your property know where Electrical and Gas shut-offs are, if there are explosive materials (propane tanks) on site, where any hazardous substances may be. Ask your local fire department what the best way for them to know this information since it’ll do little good in your file cabinet. See below for details on making a site map.
Regularly check your electrical generator, alarm systems, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. It seems tedious but you’ll be happy you did when you need them.
Stockpile supplies you might need to protect your farms such as fuel for generators, batteries and flashlights, water and food supply that can be prepared without electricity.
Have a plan how to care for your animals if you are on emergency power or even no power.
Making a site map
Things happen fast during a fire. At our farm we’ve had a few over the years (dryer, house and wheat field), luckily no people or animals where ever hurt. Directing the firemen while on site is very important so they can remain safe and do the best job possible. That’s why it’s vital to have a site plan something like either of the two examples below.
You can make your site plan from an aerial photograph or draw one up. Either way, clearly mark down points of interest to help those trying to safe your home and barns.
Take a few minutes, and start your plan. Your life and livelihood may depend on it.