Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared
Emergencies and disasters can occur anytime, anywhere. Some are seasonal and allow for some preparation; others occur swiftly and without warning. Communications, transportation, utilities, and other essential services could be disrupted by disasters, forcing you to rely initially on your own resources for food, water, first aid, transportation, and shelter. This pamphlet provides general information on personal and family emergency preparedness for a variety of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies.

Taking steps ahead of time can help you cope better if a disaster strikes. Prepare with your family and household and keep emergency supplies on-hand. This can help you avoid injury, help other people and minimize damage to your property. Even though some problems cannot be prevented, you can reduce the damage by taking simple precautions. These general preparedness tips can help you survive at least 72 hours in your home or workplace without help from emergency response officials.

Identify the Risks
Floods, tornados, forest fires, severe rain, hail and snow storms, wildfire, and power failures are the most common disasters in Alberta as determined by the Canadian Disaster Database, the Natural Hazards of Canada map, and Emergency Management Alberta. Deliberate acts like terrorism also need to be considered. It may be helpful to prepare a list of risks you would most likely face and think about how they might affect your family.

Make Your Plan
Make a list of what to do at home, school, or work if a disaster strikes. Divide up tasks so that every member of your household participates as much as possible. Write down the details and make sure everyone has a copy.
Your plan should include the following:
  • Where the exits are from your home and neighborhood
  • A meeting place to reunite with family or roommates
  • A designated person to pick up your children should you be unavailable
  • Close and out-of-town contact persons
  • Health information
  • A place for your pet to stay
  • The risks in your region
  • The location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve, and floor drain

Know the Safe Places to Be
Decide whether to take shelter in your home during different situations such as hurricanes or earthquakes. Practice taking cover in the safe places at least once a year. Repeat this kind of safety drill, practicing exactly where to go and what to do. It is important for everyone, but especially for children so they know what to expect and don’t forget the instructions over time.

Agree on an Alternate Meeting Place and Shelter

Make sure each family member knows what to do at home, at school, and at work, or if family members become separated or if it is impossible to get home. Decide where you will meet if you are separated during a disaster and choose a place, such as a friend’s house or hotel, where you can stay for a few days in case you are evacuated. When choosing your shelter, remember that bridges may be out and roads may be blocked. Don’t forget to plan for your pets. They may not be permitted in emergency shelters so find a pet-friendly hotel or friend’s home.

Select an Out-of-Area Contact
Pick someone each member of the family can call or email in case of an emergency. Be sure to choose someone who lives far enough away that they won’t be affected by the same situation. This contact should ideally be a relative or close family friend who should agree to pass news on to other family members if you get separated and call the contact from different places. Each member of the household should memorize this contact’s phone number and address and keep the information with them at all times. If you live alone, develop an emergency plan for yourself with links to friends and neighbors.