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Emergencies can happen at any time and your best defense is to be prepared! Whether an emergency occurs from human-caused, technological or natural means, be assured that Halton Region, as well as the local municipalities, have comprehensive emergency management plans and programs in place. The nature and scope of an emergency determines which emergency plans are activated.

Know the Risks

Halton Region is vulnerable to a variety of natural, technological and human-caused hazards. Make sure you and your family know what the hazards and risks are in the area you live.

Being prepared can prevent injury or death during severe weather. Watch the weather and monitor radio stations that broadcast weather bulletins.

  • Choose a Shelter. Good places to be during severe storms are basements, storm cellars, and fall-out shelters or underneath stairs or sturdy furniture in the centre of the house.
  • Maintain an emergency kit. Build a kit containing food supplies, extra clothing, blankets, a first aid kit and medications, a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries, a flashlight, lantern, and tools for emergency repair jobs. Check them often and keep them together in your shelter area. Carry a similar emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Preventative maintenance. Trim dead or rotting branches regularly, and remove dead trees to prevent them from toppling over during a storm. Ensure rooftops are clear of debris and snow and eaves troughs and storm drains in front of the house are clear.
  • Choose a meeting place. Make sure everyone in your family is safe and sound after a severe storm by meeting in a predetermined location, in case you become separated.
  • Keep a full tank. Maintain a full gas tank in your car, in case gas stations are forced to shut down in the aftermath of a severe storm.
  • Say something. Report downed hydro lines and power outages to the proper authorities.

These are hazards that could affect the entire Region - each Municipality would have its own list of hazards as well.

  • Severe Weather Events
    • Winter Storms including freezing rain/ice storms
    • Tornadoes
    • Windstorms
    • Heavy rains
    • Extreme Heat/Cold
    • Flooding
  • Failure of Water Infrastructure
    • Watermain Network
    • Pumping Stations
  • Human Health Epidemics
  • Thunderstorms
  • Lightning
  • Power Outages
  • Earthquakes
  • Hazardous Spills
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail

Make a Plan

It is important that you and your family know what to do if an emergency of any size happens (make a plan), especially if you are not all together.

  • Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan for each level of your residence.
  • Use a black or blue pen to draw the location of doors, windows, stairways and large furniture for each level.
  • Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Family Emergency Go-Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut off points.
  • Use a coloured pen to draw a broken line charting at least 2 escape routes from each room.
  • Mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of an emergency.
  • If you live in an apartment, know the location of the emergency exits. Ensure your family knows where the fire alarm is and explain when and how to use it.
  • In a fire or other emergency, never use the elevators as they may not work if the power goes out. For further information on high-rise safety, contact your local Fire Department.
  • Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least twice per year. Keep your home escape plan visible where babysitters or children can see it. For further information on developing a Home Escape Plan, contact your local Fire Department – Fire Prevention Division.
  • Make an emergency plan (Government of Canada)
  • Locate all shut-off switches for heating and ventilating equipment in your home. Identify these switches with easy-to-see signs placed near the breaker panel or main circuit breaker, gas and water. Clearly label the on/off position for each and teach members of your family how to shut off these services.
  • If your home is equipped with natural gas, tie or tape the appropriate wrench near the pipe but note that only a qualified technician should turn the gas back on – never attempt this by yourself!
  • Shelter-in-place is the practice of going or remaining indoors during the release of an airborne hazardous material or other toxic substance rather than evacuating the area or staying at home due to an extended power or water outage.
    • DO NOT attempt to pass through smoke or fumes.
    • Move out of the path of smoke or fumes and seek shelter inside a house or automobile and remain indoors. (This can reduce your exposure to 1/10 of that outdoors.)
    • Close all exterior and interior doors so that you "compartmentalize” your house. Wet towels under the doors will help prevent smoke or fumes from entering your house. If fumes do threaten you, cover your mouth and nose with a wet handkerchief or towel.
    • Close windows and use duct tape to cover window openings (you may want to have pre-cut pieces of plastic to cover windows).
    • Shut down air conditioners, fans, etc., which bring in outside air. Do not use bathroom vents, kitchen vents, fireplaces (close dampers) or clothes dryers.
    • Set thermostats so that air conditioners, furnaces and hot water heaters will not come on.
    • Monitor your radio, television or Internet for additional information, pre and post-incident advice and instructions as to when it is safe to open windows and doors and go outside.
    • Only evacuate if told to do so; staying indoors with the house closed up is the most effective action you can take.
    • If travelling, stay away from the emergency area, as you may hinder rescue and recovery efforts.
  • Always be prepared to stay in your house (shelter-in-place).
  • Responsible family members should:
    • Have a roll of duct tape.
    • Save old towels for use under doors.
    • Know how to shut down the air conditioner.
    • Know how to close dampers.
    • Be able to locate and identify all shut-off switches for heating and ventilating equipment in the home.
    • Prepare Shelter-in-Place/Stay at Home Kits.
  • For your protection, you may be notified that it is necessary to evacuate an area impacted by an emergency. Notification may occur in several ways.
  • An emergency evacuation centre may be set up to provide shelter and food to people affected by the emergency.
  • Always be prepared for an evacuation. Responsible family members should:
    • Know how to shut off their home’s gas and hydro.
    • Keep their vehicles fuelled at all times.
    • Prepare/update their Car Survival Kits and Family Emergency Go-Kits and advise the other family members of their location.
    • Always have their cell phones charged and in a location where it easy to grab if they must evacuate their home.
  • If you expect to be evacuated during an emergency:
    • Keep phone lines open for use by emergency workers by making as few calls as possible (text, don't call) and monitor local radio, TV, and Internet for emergency instructions and current information.
    • Do not assume an evacuation will last only a few hours; take your Go-Kit with you.
    • If you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity in your home.
    • Follow instructions from officials and evacuate promptly if asked; travel only on routes specified by officials – a shortcut could take you to a blocked or dangerous area.
    • If you have time, leave a note (in a mailbox if you have one) telling others when you left and where you went.
    • If you are evacuated, register with the authorities (evacuation or reception centre) so that you can be contacted and reunited with your family and loved ones.
    • If you are going somewhere other than a designated centre, advise the centre, local government or police of your whereabouts.
  • Have a communications plan – if something happens, who do you contact for help
    • Include at least two contacts - family members, friends, local authorities, hydro companies etc.
    • If possible, make sure one of your contacts is in a different geographical location then you.
  • Program I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) into your cell phone so that the responding personnel know who to contact.
  • Carry a Car Survival Kit – every driver should.
  • Remember to keep your vehicle serviced and gas in the gas tank.
  • In an emergency situation where you must pull off the road:
    • Pull your vehicle completely off the road.
    • Turn your emergency flashers on.
    • Roll the driver’s window down halfway, hook the Highway Help Sign (external link) on the window and roll the window back up.
    • Lock all doors and remain in the vehicle.
    • Open a window 1 cm for ventilation.
    • If someone other than a police officer approaches your vehicle, DO NOT open the windows further or unlock the doors.
  • Follow routes specified by officials as shortcuts could take you to a blocked or dangerous area.
  • Watch for fallen power lines, debris, damaged bridges/roads and dangling wires.
  • Always pull to the right for emergency vehicles when you hear the siren or see their lights flashing!
  • If the traffic signal is not functioning at an intersection, treat it as a four way stop. The first vehicle to arrive and stop has the right-of-way. If two or more vehicles stop at the same time, then the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.
  • If the road is flooded:
    • Turn around, don't drown
    • If you are caught in fast rising waters and your car stalls, leave it and save yourself and your passengers

Get a Kit

Get a kit to allow you and your family to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. This will allow the individuals/agencies responding to an emergency to focus their attention on the emergency situation itself. Getting a kit is the last step towards preparing you and your family for an emergency.

  • Assemble a 72 hour Go-Kit to use during an evacuation of your home or community.
  • Make sure everyone living in the home knows where to find the Go-Kit.
  • Pack at least the following items with a minimum 72 hour supply into an easy to carry container, such as a backpack or duffle bag:
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-operated or crank radio
    • Spare batteries (for flashlight and/or radio)
    • First-aid kit
    • Candles and matches/lighter
    • Extra car keys
    • Cash
    • Important papers (copies of identification, insurance policies)
    • Non-perishable food and bottled water (2 litres of water per person per day)
    • Items needed to open food (such as a manual can opener)
    • Clothing and footwear
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Toilet paper and other personal hygiene items
    • Medication (especially prescription – 72 hours worth at least)
    • Eyewear (glasses/contacts)
    • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
    • Playing cards (or other quiet games/toys)
    • Paper/pencils/pens
    • Map of your community (for locating shelters)
    • A copy of the Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide
  • Check it twice a year to ensure freshness of food, water and medication and to restock any items you may have borrowed.
  • Purchase a complete kit:
    • Canadian Red Cross website (external link)
      • Note: Halton Region has limited quantities of these GO Kits available for sale for $59.95 at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville. Dial 311 for details.
    • Home Hardware
    • your local CAA

Download the Personal Emergency Survival Kit Checklist (PDF file)

You may need to shelter-in-place or stay in your home during an emergency. You and your family need to be prepared to do this for at least 72 hours (you may have some of these items in your Family Emergency Go-Kit).

Stock the 6 basics:

  1. Water
    • Store at least a 3-day supply for each member of your family. (2 litres of water per person per day up to 72 hours)
    • Children, nursing mothers and people who are ill require more water.
  2. Non-perishable food
    • Store at least a 3-day supply and select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
  3. First aid supplies
    • Purchase a complete first aid kit and first aid manual.
    • Add personal care items such as toothpaste and soap, and a supply of non-prescription drugs
  4. Tools and supplies
    • Battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries
    • Lantern and fuel, candles
    • Compass, matches in a waterproof container, signal flare, whistle
    • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  5. Clothing & bedding
    • 1 change of seasonal clothing and comfortable footwear per person
    • Rain gear
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Sweaters
  6. Special items
    • Keep important family records and documents in a waterproof, portable container or scan the documents onto a USB and store in a bank safety deposit box. Important documents include:
    • photo ID (passports, driver's license, etc...)
    • health cards
    • bank account, credit card numbers and a small amount of cash
    • photos of family members in case you are separated
    • Toy/games for children
    • Store items in a waterproof pack or dufflebag and make sure everyone knows where to find it.
  • Include medications, denture needs, corrective lenses, hearing aids and batteries for family members with special needs, such as children and elderly or disabled persons, as well as in your Go-Kit.
  • Extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, medication, catheters, food for service animal(s), plus other special equipment you might need.
  • A list of individuals to contact in the event of an emergency.
  • A list of the style and serial numbers of medical devices, such as pacemakers.
  • Also, store back-up equipment, such as a manual wheelchair, at a neighbour’s home, school or your workplace.
  • Keep the shut-off switch for oxygen equipment near your bed to reach it quickly if there is a fire.

Carry a Car Survival Kit – every driver should have:

  • booster cables
  • vehicle fluids eg. windshield wiper fluid
  • emergency flares
  • a survival candle
  • blanket and first aid equipment
  • highway help sign

Download the Car Survival Checklist (PDF file)

Purchase a complete kit:

The Ontario SPCA suggests your kit include the following items:

  • 72 hour supply of food, bowls and can opener
  • 72 hour supply of bottled water
  • medical records, especially proof of vaccination (note that most boarding facilities will not accept pets without proof of current vaccination records)
  • current photo of pet in case he gets lost
  • ID tag (microchipping also recommended)

Check it twice a year to ensure freshness of food, water and medication and to restock any items you may have borrowed.

Download the Service Animal & Pet Survival Kit Checklist (PDF file)

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