Before a Disaster
What is my role?
You should be prepared to take care yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours during an emergency. You should also understand the basic principles of first aid, safety, and have a general understanding of potential emergency situations in your area.
During a Disaster
Response During an Emergency
During an emergency is the time to implement your plan.
When to call 9-1-1?
- Report a fire
- Report a crime
- Save a life
In case of major emergency
- Follow your emergency plan
- Take your emergency 72-hour kit
- Ensure your safety before assisting others.
- Listen to information (radio/tv/internet) from your local officials and follow their instructions.
- Stay put until all is safe (shelter-in-place) or if you are ordered to evacuate (evacuation orders)
What is Shelter-in-place?You may be instructed to "shelter-in-place" if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. This means you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your emergency kit and make sure the radio is working.
- Go to an interior room that's above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
- Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
- Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.
- More information from CDC
What is an Evacuation Order?
Authorities will only order an evacuation if they have reason to believe you are in danger!
Remember to take your:
- your emergency kit
- your emergency plan
- essential medications and copies of your prescriptions
- a cell phone+charger (if you have one)
- your family & pets
- got time? call or email your out-of-town contact and leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going
After a Disaster
Follow the Directions of Local Authorities
These are general instructions that apply to many emergencies but every situation is different.
- BREATHE - Try to stay calm and have patience.
- Check yourself and others for injuries. Give first aid to people who are injured or trapped. Take care of life-threatening situations first. Get help if necessary.
- Check on neighbours, especially the elderly or people with disabilities.
- Confine or secure pets.
- Use the battery-operated radio from your emergency kit to listen for information and instructions.
- Do not use the telephone except to report a life-threatening injury. Please leave the lines free for official use.
- If possible, put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing to help prevent injury from debris, especially broken glass.
- If you are inside, check the building for structural damage. If you suspect it is unsafe, leave and do not re-enter.
- Do not turn on light switches or light matches until you are sure that there aren't any gas leaks or flammable liquids spilled. Use a flashlight to check utilities.
- Do not shut off utilities unless they are damaged, leaking (a gas leak smells like rotten eggs) or if there is a fire. If you turn the gas off, don't turn it on again. That must be done by a qualified technician.
If tap water is available, fill a bathtub and other containers in case the supply gets cut off.
If there is no running water, remember that you may have water available in a hot water tank, toilet reservoir or in ice cube trays.
- Water supplies may be contaminated so purify your water.
- Do not flush toilets if you suspect that sewer lines are broken.
- If you are in a high-rise building, do not use the elevator in case of power outage. If you are in an elevator, push every floor button and get out as soon as possible.
- Pick up your children from school or the pre-determined collection point.
- Stay away from damaged areas unless you are asked to help or are qualified to give assistance.
- Do not go near loose or dangling power lines. Downed power lines can cause fires and carry sufficient power to cause harm. Report them and any broken sewer and water mains to the authorities.
- If the power has been off for several hours, check the food in the refrigerator and freezer in case it has spoiled.