Canadians unprepared for disaster

Times-Herald Staff
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Even after last year's torrential floods in southern Alberta, the majority of Canadians are still not prepared for a disaster.

Judy Robertson, general manager of Moose Jaw's Red Cross puts together a survival kit at the Red Cross office on Thursday.

Kim MacLean, Red Cross provincial lead for disaster management told the Times-Herald a 2012 poll by Ipsos Reid showed that 66 per cent of respondents had not taken steps to prepare for a disaster. She said, little has changed since the poll.

"What we have found as an agency that does provide assistants for folks after disasters, that those communities and individuals who have made a plan and have prepared themselves in some ways, it does make the chance of their recovery occur quicker," MacLean said.

This week across Canada was Emergency Preparedness Week across the country and the Red Cross and the Government of Saskatchewan used the week to raise awareness for disaster preparedness.

MacLean said their are three key points for individuals and families to know in preparing for an emergency. First, she said, make sure you know the risks.

"Where do you live and what are your risks?" she said to ask yourself. "Are you living in a place where floods occur often."

Second, she said it's important you make a safety kit and to put it in a known location.

"The kit can be fairly simple, but it's things like being able to have a supply of water, being able to have a flashlight, some sort of emergency radio, or power source, some dehydrated food so they are able to feed themselves," she said.

Lastly, she said, it's crucial to make a plan.

"Say both parents are working and you have children at school," she said. "How are you going to get a hold of each other? How will you make contact? Where will you meet? How will you let your family know if they are safe?"

What people often forget, said MacLean, is that there are many vulnerable people in each community that are often forgotten. Many times they live alone, are elderly or don't have family members. 

"In your neigborhood is there somebody that's living in a home and is by themselves and may not have access to food and water?" MacLean asked. "Check to make sure they are okay as well."

In Moose Jaw severe weather and driving are the most dangerous risks we face, according to Judy Robertson, General Manager of Moose Jaw's Red Cross.

"It doesn't matter what community you are from, we live by a busy highway," said Robertson, "There are lots of semi's going."

To book a emergency preparation workshop with the Red Cross call Robertson at 306- 692-9776.

Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.

Organizations: Red Cross, Times-Herald, Ipsos Reid

Geographic location: Canada, Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw

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