We all have a role to play in emergency and disaster preparedness. By knowing your role, you can prepare for what is within your control.
Before an emergency
Hazards vary depending on where you live. Identify the hazards near you so you can create your emergency plan.
Individuals and families should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours.
- Know the risks: Knowing the risks and hazards can help you and your loved ones prepare for the unexpected. For more information, see Emergency preparedness.
- Make an emergency plan: A plan will help you cope with the stress of an emergency or disaster.
- Build an emergency kit: By taking a few simple steps you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies. Don’t forget to include your pets when building your kit.
- Download the Alberta Emergency Alert app for critical, life-saving alerts.
- Find out where your community will post information and updates during an emergency.
Connect with neighbours
Being prepared is not only about having the right supplies. Your ability to recover from unexpected situations also relies on your connections to others.
- In many cases, community members such as neighbours, co-workers and friends in the affected area are first on-scene.
- It is easier to offer help, or ask for help, when you know who is there.
- If you are not already familiar with your neighbours, consider reaching out and making those connections.
In all emergencies or disasters, you can reduce stress by being financially prepared.
- Speak to an insurance agent about your specific needs.
- Know your insurance policy. Make sure your home, vehicle, business and belongings are protected.
- If possible, consider an emergency savings account to cover temporary expenses while you are out of your home.
- If you can, keep emergency cash handy in case banking services are unavailable.
- If you are evacuated, keep all receipts for additional expenses.
- Prepare a detailed list of all your belongings. For more information, see Home Inventory.
- Know the 7 steps for making a home insurance claim. For more information, see Claims Management.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is ready to answer your questions. Connect with them by email at email@example.com or by telephone 1-844-227-5422. For more information on insurance preparedness visit IBC.
Protect your pets
- A pet carrier stocked with supplies for a quick grab and go ensures your pet will have what it needs.
- Have a phone list of animal shelters, veterinarians and kennel facilities that could house your pets if needed.
- Create a buddy system with a neighbour in case one of you are unable to return home to pick up your pet.
- In the case of an evacuation, never leave your pet behind.
During an emergency
Emergencies have the potential to cause serious harm to people, property, the economy and the environment. Make sure you know who to call and what to do during an emergency or disaster.
How to protect yourself and your loved ones during an emergency or disaster will depend on the hazard.
Authorities may direct you to shelter-in-place. If this happens, you should stay where you are and follow their instructions.
Evacuation alerts and orders
- Alerts are issued to provide critical information about an emergency or disaster, including where it is happening and what actions need to be taken.
- An evacuation alert warns the public of a potential or current threat. If an alert is issued, you should prepare to evacuate.
- An evacuation order is used when the public must leave the area for their own safety.
Directions from authorities can vary based on the emergency. They can also change very quickly.
- Ensure you are monitoring the alerts you receive through the Alberta Emergency Alert app so you can always be up-to-date with the latest information.
- If you’re able to, check your community’s website or social media channels to see what updates they are posting.
Connect with neighbours
If something happens in your neighbourhood, ask yourself these questions:
- Who might need extra assistance?
- Who can you ask to check on your pets?
- Who is first aid-certified?
If there is time
- In some cases, authorities will give instructions on how to protect your home. They could ask you to shut off water, electricity or gas. Do not shut off your utilities unless directed to do so.
- Let your out-of-town contact know what is happening in case you are separated from loved ones.
- Leave a note in your mailbox letting authorities know where you are going and how you can be reached.
We are all in this together
There are a number of industry, mutual aid and non-governmental organizations (NGO) partners that play vital roles during disasters and emergencies.
A few of the many services offered include:
- emergency food, clothing and shelter
- emotional and spiritual support
- health care services at reception centres
After an emergency
The lingering effects of unexpected emergencies and disasters are different for everyone. Knowing what to do after an emergency can help reduce stress and aid in a quicker recovery.
Recovery is a process
The process to repair and restore your life after an emergency or disaster is not easy and takes time, flexibility and patience.
Examples of recovery include:
- removing waste and debris
- contacting your insurance company
- replacing lost or destroyed documentation
- finding a new home
- getting mental health support
Find out where your community will post information on support and recovery after an emergency.
If you had to evacuate, you can’t return home until authorities have told you it’s safe to do so. Use extreme caution at all times.
Do not enter your home or property if:
- an expert has not deemed it safe to do so
- any part of the structure has collapsed
- the structure is off its foundation
- the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding
Connect with neighbours
Having a sense of community and people you can lean on is an important part of recovery.
- Reach out to your neighbours and friends to find out how you can support each other.
- Research shows that communities with strong relationships recover faster.
Your mental health
Disasters can affect people in many ways. Sometimes we have emotional responses right away and sometimes they show up days, weeks, months or even years after.
Feelings of stress are normal, but some people can experience more severe distress and may require help.
Monitor yourself and your loved ones for signs of distress, which could include:
- difficulty sleeping
- emotional outbursts
- depression or unexplained physical issues
If any of these signs appear, make sure to talk about them and seek advice from a professional.
We are all in this together
There are a number of NGOs committed to assisting those impacted by a disaster or emergency. Examples include:
- community clean up
- psychological counseling
- assistance with replacing lost items
- paperwork or other tasks as needed
- What to do before an emergency
- What to do during an emergency
- What to do after an emergency
- Disaster Recovery Program information
Check with your community to learn how to help others during severe weather events. If you’re concerned for someone’s safety, call:
- 211 if someone is in distress or in an unsafe place
- 911 if they’re unconscious or need medical help
Connect with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency:
Alberta Emergency Management Agency
14515 122 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5L 2W4