Would you know what to do in an emergency – a major power outage, a crippling winter storm, a train derailment involving hazardous cargo?
Chances are your kids know, thanks a Simcoe County Program that brings Emergency Preparedness training into the classroom.
STEP, STudent Emergency Preparedness, teaches kids the importance of being prepared for an emergency, having a plan, and preparing a 72-hour Emergency Kit.
Experience shows that it may take 72 hours to restore power, or for emergency responders to reach your home; having a handy kit containing water (2 litres per day per person), non-perishable food, a hand-operated can opener, flashlight and batteries, crank or battery-operated radio, First Aid kit, cash, whistle (to attract attention), special needs items (pet food, infant formula, medication, assistive devices), and documentation (in case of evacuation) can be critical for coping with disaster.
County of Simcoe Emergency Management Training and Promotions rep Rob Heffernan, Bradford West Gwillimbury Firefighters, and Astrid Vig-Bergsma of Emergency Management Fire & Emergency Services, brought a child-friendly Emergency Preparedness Program to the Bradford Public Library during March Break.
Kids (and their parents) could watch a video, try putting out a digital fire using a simulated fire extinguisher, and pick up everything from Jr. Fire Chief hats, to reflective Halloween loot bags and Emergency Preparedness information, free.
The annual event has become an important educational tool – because when kids know what to do in an emergency, they tell their parents.
Are you prepared for an emergency? Step one is knowing the risks and hazards that you could face. Blizzards, ice storms, hail, high winds, flooding, thunderstorms, lightning, heat waves and power outages are all dangers that occur in Ontario.
Step two: Prepare a Family Emergency Plan. Draw up a floor plan of your home that shows all possible exits from each room. In case of evacuation or separation, plan two safe places where everyone should meet, and make sure everyone has the phone number of an out-of-town emergency contact, in case local communications are disrupted.
Step three: Prepare your 72 Hour Emergency Kit. If evacuation is an option, add sleeping bags, blankets, extra clothing for every member of the family, toiletries (including hand sanitizer), utensils, toilet paper, basic tools (hammer, pocket knife, duct tape), and extra house keys.