Municipal Services

Before an Emergency

Be prepared -- plan for emergencies

No community is equipped to handle all the demands of a catastrophe.
Help your community by preparing yourself.

Build A Personal Emergency Plan and Know What To Do Before a Disaster Strikes.

  • Will your whole family think clearly and logically in a crisis? Not many of us can. So do your clear, logical thinking now - when you have the time to be thorough.
  • Take a few moments to consider the possible emergency situations or potential disasters you could face. These are situations and events that could impact you, your family or your neighbourhood or community.
  • Talk to your family members to get their views and assistance in building an action plan you and your family can follow to help reduce the possible effects of any emergency or disaster. You may want to consider helping your neighbours do the same, especially those who are elderly or disabled.
  • Set up a family meeting this week to discuss how you can best prepare for an emergency.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do before, during and after an emergency.

1. Create An Emergency Communications Plan

  • Choose an out-of-town contact that your family or household will call or e-mail to check in with should an emergency occur, or if family members get separated. Use this contact as a relay person. Choose someone who lives far enough away that the individual is unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and be sure to tell that person that he or she is your designated contact.
  • Make a list of your designated contact's, telephone numbers (home, work, cellular or pager) and e-mail addresses for everyone in the family or household. Make sure everyone, including the designated contact, has a copy of this list.
  • If you have children, provide your emergency contact numbers to your children's schools. Provide this same information to your workplace.
  • You should limit telephone use (including cell phones) and keep conversations short during an emergency to help free-up lines for those that need help. Your family should be advised that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later, or they can try to e-mail a message. People overload the telephone lines when emergencies happen, but e-mail can sometimes get through.

2. Establish A Meeting Place

  • Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or your community evacuated.
  • In the case of community evacuation you will want to make the "reception centre" your designated meeting place, so that family members are focused on evacuating safely from where they are and not in search of one another if it is not reasonable to do so.
  • Scenarios should be included in your family emergency preparation discussions so that family members know what to do in a variety of situations.
  • You may want to make prior arrangements with outside family members and friends should part of your family be with them during an emergency.
  • Know the school plan, and rehearse it with your children.
  • Be sure to include arrangements for any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.

3. Assemble An Emergency Supplies Kit

  • If you are asked to evacuate your home or to seal yourself inside for a period of time (more about "sheltering-in-place"), having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable.
  • Prepare an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can and store it in an easily accessible location, such as a closet shelf on the main floor. Aim to have an emergency supplies kit that will keep you and your family self-sufficient in your home for at least three days. You probably have most of the items for the kit handy. See Emergency and Food Kits.

4. Learn About Your Community's Emergency Plans, Arrangements And Authorities

  • Some highlights of Fort Qu'Appelle's Plan are:
    • Use only 911 to call for aid from the fire dept, police, first responders, or ambulance.
    • The Fort Qu'Appelle emergency evacuation shelter and reception area is the Rexentre. If necessary other reception areas and routes will be indicated by the phone fan out.
    • Plan a meeting with your block leader and members of your block so everyone around you is properly educated with respect to emergency procedures.
    • If someone in the home relies on electrically powered life-sustaining equipment, register with your electric supply authority and your community emergency program.
    • Set up a buddy family to arrange for alternate heating options in the event of power outage during the winter.

5. Check On The Emergency Plan Of Children's School Or Day-Care Center

  • You need to know if your children will be kept at school until you or a designated adult can pick them up, whether they will be sent home on their own, whether they will be bussed in the event of an evacuation, or billeted near by during a severe storm.
  • Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pick up. Keep in mind that during times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.
  • Find out ahead of time what type of authorization the school requires to release a child to a designate should you not be able to collect your child yourself.
  • You can assist in educating your children about school plans and community plans.

6. Learn Some Basic First Aid Techniques

  • Knowing some basic first aid is another useful preparedness measure. In an emergency, remember that you should always tend to your own well being first. First aid training will help you to help yourself and those around you, and help you assist injured people evacuate a building as required.

First Aid Resource Page

7. Make Your Home Hazard-Proof

  • Anticipate what could go wrong in your home and take corrective action.
  • Move or secure objects that could fall and injure you: books, plants, mirrors, lamps, and china. Secure objects that could tip and start a fire: water heater, gas appliances.
  • If you live in a tornado zone, secure anything that might be blown around or torn loose, both indoors and outdoors. Choose your shelter area: A basement, storm cellar or a closet beneath the stairs are good places to take shelter in the event of a severe storm. If none of these is available, sit underneath a sturdy piece of furniture on the ground floor in the centre of the building, away from the outside walls and windows. Be sure you discuss the shelter area with your family ahead of time.
  • Trim dead or rotting branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house. You may also want to consider checking the drainage around the house to reduce the possibility of basement flooding after a heavy rain.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, remove all chemical products from the basement. Move irreplaceable belongings to upper floors.
  • You can install a non-electric, standby heating unit that is not dependent on a motor, fan, or any other electrical device to function. Vent the stove or heater adequately with the type of chimney flue specified for it.
  • Never connect two heating units to the same chimney flue.
  • If you live in a house: teach members of your family where and how to shut off the water, electricity and gas supply.
  • Tips from Sask Energy
  • Make big, easy-to-see signs, saying Breaker Panel (or main circuit breaker), Gas and Main Water supply. Put these signs near the breaker panel, gas valve and main water valve.
  • Teach family members how to get out of a house fast, even with blindfolds on, in case of fire and over whelming smoke. Install smoke detectors that work. Make sure every bedroom is equipped with direct fire exits.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, clean the flue every fall in preparation for its use for home heating (i.e. sustained use at high temperatures). The creosote in a flue can be ignited by sustained high temperatures and develop into a chimney fire.
  • Tips from Sask Power: Chimney Check
  • If you have a fireplace, keep a good supply of fuel on hand.
  • If the standby heating unit will use the normal house oil or gas supply, have it connected with shutoff valves by a competent technician.
  • Before considering the use of an emergency generator during a power failure, check with furnace, appliance and lighting fixture dealers or manufacturers regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures.
  • If someone in the home relies on electrically powered life-sustaining equipment, register with your electric supply authority and your community emergency program.
  • Check your insurance. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for the range of risks in your community.

Information for these pages was taken from the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada web site with permission.