Disasters like forest fires, earthquakes and the unpredictable paths of tornados can all cause devastation in a heartbeat. Hurricane Ida caused both tidal surge flooding in New Orleans and flash floods in New York where record levels of rain fell in an hour. Here in Niagara, we have been (thankfully) spared from many such recent disasters. However, extreme weather occurrences are increasing globally and fears of natural disasters happening here loom ever closer on the horizon. How prepared are you for a natural disaster? Do you have the recommended essentials to keep your family safe for an extended period? Read on for our top tips on disaster/emergency preparedness.
Create A Plan:
What should you do in the face of a natural disaster? It can be a frightening thought, but far worse is to have no plan at all.
“You always need to be prepared for the unexpected, because by the time you realize its an emergency it is too late.” – Debbie Wing, Mason Insurance Customer Service Representative
Plan ahead for a possible evacuation – where would you go and how would you get there? Make sure everyone knows the plan and how to get there. This is important should anyone become separated.
Knowing how to stay in touch is important too. Create a communication plan and try to designate at least one out-of-town friend or family member as a backup contact. Make sure everyone knows how to text as this method is more reliable than traditional phone lines during disasters when power outages may affect them.
Build A Kit:
Could your family survive for 3 days without basic services? Emergency Management Ontario recommends a 3-day Emergency Survival Kit to keep your family safe immediately following a natural disaster. Being prepared to survive on your own for more than a few hours with no access to fresh potable water, electricity/heat or emergency services can mean the difference for surviving any potential disaster. Keep extra copies of important paperwork, identification, and contact lists alongside any prescriptions in your kit too.
Plan carefully for any special needs family members such as seniors or disabled persons. They may need additional prescriptions and/or assistive devices such as canes, dentures, glasses and hearing aides (and don’t forget the batteries!) Keep a list of all required prescriptions and telephone numbers (family, doctors, social workers etc.) with your emergency kit. A natural disaster can be a very disruptive time; getting loved ones back to a normal routine as quickly and smoothly as possible is important.
Don’t forget to prepare for your pets too! Keeping them safe and calm during an emergency can be a challenge. Make sure you also have a supply of their basic food items, medications and toiletries, as well as a way to transport them to safety should the need arise. Try to keep to their feeding schedule whenever possible, and don’t be upset with them if they have an “accident” – they will become more anxious because of it! Consider adding Pet Insurance to help cover any emergency vet costs that may also arise.
Natural disasters can happen quickly. Your local weather network and news channels can provide important updates to get you through them safely. Have extra batteries for flashlights, cellphones and radios, or even better, a hand-crank radio. You can also follow the official Twitter accounts of Emergency Management Ontario:
Remember the key to surviving a natural disaster or emergency is to plan for the worst and hope for the best! Mason Insurance will be here to help. Contact us if you have questions on your insurance coverage.
May 2-8 2021 was Emergency Preparedness Week in Ontario.