The number of natural disasters increases every year. Emergencies such as fires, floods, power outages, earthquakes, blizzards, tornadoes, severe storms, and even nuclear disasters can affect anyone. When it affects us closely, as it did when family members were victims of the floods, it makes us realize that it could happen to us too. This is why a simple but effective preparation, like the one I use to protect my family, may help you avoid a lot of trouble in the event of the unexpected.
Preparing an emergency plan
You can’t always predict disasters. They can happen when children are in school or parents are on the other side of town. That’s why it’s important that all families take 20 to 30 minutes each year to chat and make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency evacuation. One of the best ways to build a plan is to consult the online guide to Make an emergency plan from Public Safety Canada. You can share your ideas and print or send an electronic copy to each member of your family.
Here are the main points to be addressed in this plan:
- Evacuation itinerary
- Where are the nearest shelters?
- Children and people with special medical needs
- Risks specific to your region
- Emergency contact details
- Home security guidelines
- Instructions to follow in an emergency
During some disasters, you may find yourself confined to your home with limited access to certain products. When the media begins to predict a natural disaster, people’s first instinct is to go empty the grocery store shelves for some everyday items. If you’ve stocked up responsibly, then you can avoid the rush of big-box stores and sudden price inflation.
Here are the main elements to consider while stocking up:
- Buy additional small amounts of non-perishable products each time you go grocery shopping, being considerate not to hoard items.
- Think about the baby, the dog and special medical needs.
- Store a lot of water because it’s not just for drinking (you’ll need at least 2 gallons per person per day!).
- Put a reminder in your calendar to rotate food every 6 months.
- For food that lasts for several years, you can stock up on frozen, dried or dehydrated meals, usually sold in outdoor stores.
Some situations may require you to evacuate quickly. It is important to prepare the family evacuation bag and to have discussed with them beforehand your emergency evacuation plan. They should be placed in an easily accessible location, ideally near one of your home’s emergency exits. Be prepared, along with other family members, to deal with the first 72 hours of the emergency.
Here’s what should be in your evacuation bag:
- Emergency food for at least 72 hours
- Spare clothes
- Baby diapers
- Water purifier (e.g., Sawer filter)
- Cooking set (pot, bowls, utensils)
- At least 100 metres of rope
- Flashlight (with additional batteries)
- Bottled water
- Entertainment (e.g., cards, books, toys)
- First aid kit
- Map of the region
When a crisis occurs, the most important thing is to stay calm. Preparing well may seem like a lot of work for an unwanted situation, but it will save you a lot of stress and worry if it occurs.
Advice from Allstate experts
Before evacuating the house, if you have time and if it is safe to do so, be sure to turn off the water, turn off the power and securely lock all doors and windows.
Be sure to review your insurance policy to understand what you are covered for in the event of damage to your property and to be aware of the assistance programs available to you related to extreme weather conditions, natural disasters, etc.).