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IT STARTS WITH YOU

- Disasters Strike Without Warning, So Area Residents Are Asked to Be Prepared To Handle Any Emergency -

Preparing for an emergency begins well before the storm or disaster strikes home.

To mark Emergency Preparedness Week (May 7 to 13, 2017), the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging local residents to plan for an emergency ahead of time. In any emergency, the Health Unit advises that people should be prepared to take care of themselves for up to 72 hours.

“Whether it is an extended power blackout, extreme weather, flooding, train derailment, or drinking water disruption, you never know when disaster can strike your community,” says Carol Chan, the Emergency Preparedness Co-ordinator with the HKPR District Health Unit. “While you can never predict an emergency, you can prepare for one by taking action.”

The Health Unit recommends the following three-step approach to prepare for an emergency:

1. Make a Plan:

It is important that people know what to do in an emergency, and creating an action plan can help, Chan says. An action plan can cover such things as: identifying emergency exits in a home, deciding upon a safe meeting place to gather as a family in an emergency, and creating a list of key emergency contacts, prescription medication, and any allergies or medical conditions. Emergency Management Ontario offers an online tool that allows users to create an Emergency Preparedness Action Plan for their household. The action plan lists specific steps to get prepared and provides tips on hazards that might affect a community

2. Build an Emergency Kit

An emergency survival kit should include everything that a family needs to be safe and care for itself for at least three days following a storm or disaster, Chan says. Essential items in any kit include food (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items), bottled water, medication, flashlight, radio (crank or battery-run), first-aid kit, candles and matches, hand sanitizer, important papers (such as identification, key contact lists, copies of prescriptions), extra car keys and cash. Special items to have in the kit could include pet food and supplies or items for babies and small children (like diapers, baby food and comfort items).

In case of evacuation, extra clothes, blankets, personal items (toothpaste, shampoo, comb and other toiletries), playing cards and travel games should also be included. “It’s best to pack the contents of your emergency kit in an easy-to-carry bag, and have it readily accessible if you need to leave your home in a hurry,” Chan advises. “Be sure to check and refresh your kit twice a year, making sure that items like food, bottled water and batteries have not expired.”

3. Stay Informed

Expect the unexpected! Individuals should be watchful for bad weather or conditions that could pose a risk to themselves and their families. Ontario’s Emergency Public Warning System provides three types of warnings – Red Alerts, Emergency Information Advisories and Tornado Warnings – in a timely and accurate way to people during an emergency. People can sign up for these online warnings by visiting the ‘Public Alerting in Ontario’ section of the Emergency Management Ontario website.

For media inquiries, contact:

Carol Chan, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577.

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