It is Emergency Preparedness Week.

Emergency Preparedness Week takes place each year during the first week of May. This year's theme, "Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything," highlights the importance of being well-prepared in the event of an emergency. 

"We get all kinds of stuff in our province, with fires, floods, extreme weather, and we also have to be prepared for incidents involving hazardous materials," explained Brenda Gheran, executive director of NRCAER. 

As a mutual aid response organization, NRCAER provides resources to municipalities and industries in the event of an emergency. They've also been an advocate for community safety. NRCAER has implemented a community notification line, which residents can call to get up-to-date information on anything going on in the area. 

This week, they encourage the public to review their emergency preparedness plans and kits.  

What goes into an emergency kit? 

Gheran explained a kit should have enough food, water and supplies for each household member, including pets. The first step is preparing a kit that will last 72 hours. 

"A lot of it is very personal, so what I might consider a need in an emergency may not be somebody else's. But you have to plan for yourself, your household, kids, your dog." 

Gheran keeps her kit together in a Rubbermaid container, all in one location in her house so that it's easy to grab and go.  

According to NRCAER, here are some essential items to have in your home emergency kit: 

Water 

In a 72-hour kit, you should have four litres per person per day. It is also recommended to include smaller bottles that you can easily transport if you have to move.  

Food 

Foods that don't spoil should go in your kit, such as canned goods, dried fruit and energy bars. If needed, pet food and baby food should go, too. Don't forget a can opener!  

Flashlight  

Make sure to pack extra batteries in case of a power outage.  

Portable radio 

A portable radio will help keep you informed in case of an emergency. Again, make sure you have enough batteries. 

First aid kit 

Ready-made first aid kits are widely available for purchase and should include:  

  • Sterile gauze pads in small and large squares to place over wounds 
  • Adhesive tape 
  • Triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make an arm sling 
  • Band-aids in various sizes 
  • Scissors and tweezers 
  • Safety pins 
  • Instant ice packs 
  • Disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves 
  • Antiseptic wipes or soap 
  • Thermometer 
  • Barrier devices, such as a pocket mask or face shield 

Medication 

Emergency kits should be personalized specifically to you and your needs. If you require any prescription medications, it's good to keep an extra supply in your kit.  

Important documents 

This includes an itemized list of your kit, as well as a plan of where to go in an emergency, a list of resources and a list of friends, family members or any other important contact information. You should also have photocopied identification and medical records or certifications.  

In honour of Emergency Preparedness Week, Strathcona County is offering free courses – Home Alone for eight to 12-year-olds and Emergency Preparedness for Adults. More information on both can be found here