Durham Region asks Are You Ready?

Durham wants you to be prepared for anything with updated emergency brochure

Warren Leonard director of the Durham Emergency Management Office

Whitby This Week

DURHAM — Would you be prepared in the case of an emergency?

Think back two years when Durham Region and much of southern Ontario were hammered by the ice storm. Power for some was out for days, leaving people to scramble for food and heat. Having the storm hit just before Christmas didn’t help either.

To help ensure you are as prepared as much as possible, Durham Region has put out an updated emergency preparedness brochure. Are You Ready? covers four steps — Know Your Risks, Make A Plan, Have A Kit, Stay In Touch. And, as there are two nuclear stations in Durham, there are two additional steps to follow if there were an incident at a nuclear plant.

Warren Leonard, the director of the Durham Emergency Management Office, said of the new booklet, “It’s part of our ongoing public education program. It’s legislated. Beside that, it’s a good idea.”

The last time the information was updated was in the spring of 2013.

“This brochure is quite different in look, although the same message is there,” Mr. Leonard added. “If we can get people to recognize the risk, educate them and be prepared, that’s our goal.”

It’s recommended people keep a 72-hour kit of water, food, required medication, seasonal clothing, a flash light and crank or battery-powered radio. Also, a first-aid kit should be maintained, along with a kit for any pets, and a vehicle kit.

Mr. Leonard noted, “Recent polls say not as many do (keep an emergency kit). That’s why we keep beating the drum.”

He added all three levels of government — federal, provincial, local — use the same information.

“We want to keep a consistent approach,” he said. “In a very serious emergency, you might need to be on your own for some time. That’s why we try to make it as pervasive in the community as possible.”

The new version of the brochure uses more graphics to help get the message across, Mr. Leonard said, adding the old brochure was “a little heavier on text. The graphics are more engaging.”

The new brochure has “been pretty successful,” he noted.

Rather than send the brochure to all homes and businesses, “this time, we sent out post cards” to let people know about the booklet. The cards were sent to “the entire Region, every address.”

The cards included information on where to get the brochure, including on-line.

“More people want to get access that way.”

There are several locations where a brochure can be picked up, he noted.

“We felt that was a more reasonable approach. Rather than do it every second year, we’d do it annually. We’ll distribute post cards again,” Mr. Leonard stated.

National Emergency Preparedness Week is the first week of May and the Region will time the update to that week.

The focus of the week is raising awareness and emergency preparedness promotion.

“We really try to keep a simple approach.”

The ice storm of 2013 is an example of why a kit is needed. The storm only lasted a short time, but the resulting power outage left some people in the dark and cold for several days, he said.

A crank radio or a battery-operated one is recommended to stay up-to-date through the media.

A kit will help keep your family warm and fed, he said.

Given there are two nuclear stations in Durham, the brochure includes steps to follow in case of a nuclear incident, he added.

“We felt it was necessary and warranted for that particular area of Durham Region.”

Get your copy of the updated brochure online at www.durham.ca/demo, by e-mail at demo@durham.ca , by phone at 1-800-372-1102 ext. 2792, or in person at the Regional Municipality of Durham headquarters at 605 Rossland Rd. E. in Whitby.


WHAT YOUR EMERGENCY KIT SHOULD CONTAIN

• Food (canned or dried) and a can opener

• Water (two litres per day, per person)

• Medications (if it’s a nuclear emergency, include potassium iodide or KI pills)

• Clothing appropriate for the season

• Blankets

• Flashlight and batteries

• Battery or crank-powered radio

• Personal hygiene products

• Toys and games for children

• Cash and important papers (identification, medical, insurance)

There should be enough to last 72 hours. And, don’t forget to bring food and water for any pets.


HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU

Having a kit in case of an emergency is being prepared. That way, you’re not running around at the last minute trying to pack. If the emergency is of such a nature that you can’t leave the house, you might not be adequately supplied, making a bad situation worse.

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