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When work happens anywhere, be ready for anything

Emergency Preparedness Week highlights the need for individuals to take more responsibility in planning for the worst. Our in-house expert shares his checklist for everything you need to do


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The Baden-Powell  motto for the Scouting movement was all about “Being Prepared”. This is something that does not happen by coincidence.

This week May 5 – 11, is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada.  This is a great opportunity to explore the importance of personal preparedness for emergencies – both in the work place and at home. As more business professionals find themselves working either at home or remote locations as part of telecommuting programs, this is becoming even more important. Building awareness is a great first step in getting prepared. Studies out of past events across North America have shown that a company’s ability to respond and recovery from an emergency (business continuity) is related to the levels of personal preparedness of the individual employees.   An individual who is prepared and confident in the safety of their home and family is more likely to return to work quickly after an emergency and be able to assist their company in the overall company response and recovery.

Across Canada, we face a number of natural hazards, which can vary from region to region. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared. Find out more about risks in your region and how to prepare by looking at the Public Safety Canada Pocket Guide to Emergencies at GetPrepared.ca. Then use this guide for information on what to do in different situations. The Public Safety Canada Pocket Guide to Emergencies is available in either French or English

Explore the Risks to your home and family

Learn if there are places near your home that could be dangerous or cause an emergency – for example a construction site, an area that can flood because of overflowing streams or rivers. Also buildings (places of work) where chemicals are used made or stored.

Have a safe place to go. If you are asked to evacuate (leave your home), you can go to the home of a family member, friend’s home or even a motel, hotel or shelter out of the danger zone

Learn what to do in case of an emergency where you work and at your child’s school or daycare. Ensure where it is available, to be part of the school Emergency Alerting and Notification Systems which is a method to get emergency messages emailed to you or sent by text message to your mobile phone.

Develop a Family Emergency Plan

Pick safe places in your home where you can go to if there is an emergency.  Pick two different ways to get out of your home in case you have to leave it. Pick a place that all your family is aware of that you can meet in case you are separated during an emergency. Be very specific and tell everyone in your family.

Pick one place that’s in your neighborhood and one outside of your neighborhood (even a different city). Include a couple of family contacts where you and your family members can connect with in case you are separated during an emergency to share your where about.  If small children are in your family you many need formula, diapers, bottles, medications, wipes, baby food, extra water, toys, books.

Your family plan may need to address and ne tailored to elderly family members or ones witch certain mobility disabilities.  For those with disabilities ensure to wear a medical alert tag/bracelet so other people and any first responders know of your condition. If applicable all members of the family should know where to find medicine for those with medical conditions, special medical equipment and the family Emergency Supply kit.

Finally, don’t forget about having a plan on what to do to keep your pets safe if there is an Emergency and for  adults only, know how to turn off the electricity, gas and water in your home in case you are asked to do it.

Prepare a family Emergency Supply Kit for 72 hours

If there is an emergency in your area, you might not be able to get food, water or other things you need to survive. Also, the heat and water in your home might not work. That’s why you have to make an emergency supply kit and keep it in your home. The kit should have enough supplies for you and your family for a minimum three days. In a pandemic, you may be asked to stay home (shelter in place) for weeks to help stop the spread of the disease.  Basic items in your Emergency Supply Kit should include:

Water Supply:   One gallon of water for every person in your home for each day. You will need more water if there are children, if someone has any illnesses or medical conditions.

Food:  Include nonperishable food items in cans or sealed packages like soup and tuna fish and even foods and juices that do not have to go in the refrigerator. Include food supplies for food for infants, or the elderly and your pets.

Cooking Utensils:  Don’t forget a manual can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils and something to cook on like a small grill with fuel.  Be sure to use charcoal and gas grills outside to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.

Handy to have items for Survival:

  • Paper towels, toilet paper, soap.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlights, cell phone, with extra batteries.
  • Blanket/sleeping bag, pillows
  • Extra clothing for everyone in the family.
  • Things babies and children need like diapers, games, toys and books.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Garbage bags and cleaning supplies.
  • Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash and important information like social security numbers and birth certificates.
  • Pictures of your family members and pets in case you are separated and need help looking for them.
  • Plastic and duct tape (see chemical emergencies).

Check and refill your kit every few months to make sure no food or batteries have expired. A good time to do it is when you change your clocks in the fall and the spring.  You cannot predict an emergency, but you can plan for one.

Dive deeper on emergency planning at work: Download Allstream’s white paper on Business Continuity Protection for SIP Trunking — Ensuring Critical Connections. 

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