Take four simple steps to become better prepared
Emergency Preparedness Week was May 6 - 12, 2018
This year’s theme was “Be Emergency Ready.” Emergency Preparedness Week is an opportunity to encourage Canadians to take concrete actions to be better prepared to protect themselves and their families during emergencies.
1. Build a Kit
When disaster hits, there won't be time to collect emergency supplies. Ensure you have emergency kits for your home, workplace and vehicle. They should all contain food, water and supplies for a minimum of 7 days.
2. Make a Plan
3. Sign up for Alerts
Central Saanich has an emergency alert system that staff at our Emergency Operations Centre can activate in an emergency. Sign up today.
4. Get Informed
Here are some the events that could impact us, and how you can prepare for them:
The vast majority of Greater Victoria is at no threat from a tsunami. However, there is information that everyone should know about tsunamis, particularly if you live, work, or enjoy those areas close to the coastline. Tsunamis occur on an infrequent basis here, but they are a potentially dangerous hazard that we all need to be aware of and plan for.
The most dangerous tsunami threat to Greater Victoria follows a major earthquake. If you feel an earthquake that is strong enough to make it difficult to stand or where the shaking lasts longer than one minute then you should know that a tsunami may have been generated. In this type of event some areas closer to the ocean may lie within the tsunami planning zone and may be at risk. Check the map below to find your home, place of work, school, or other places you visit regularly and see if they lie within the tsunami planning zone. Move inland out of the tsunami planning zone. You have about 90 minutes from the end of the shaking until the first series of tsunami waves could arrive here. You do not have to travel far to get to an area of safety. View the brochure below for more information on what else to do in this situation.
This region can also see smaller sized tsunamis that are generated by earthquakes many hundreds of kilometers away. These tsunamis are generated by earthquakes that we can not feel here. This type of tsunami is a potential threat to those on beaches, or those who have seen wave damage to their properties in large winter storms, but these tsunamis are not a threat to other areas inland. View the brochure below for more information on what else you need to know about this type of tsunami.
- If you hear that a tsunami Watch is in place this is your notification that a tsunami threat may exist and you should follow all instructions carefully. Check this website, follow @CSaanichFire or @CSaanich on Twitter and listen to your AM/FM radio for further details.
- If you hear that a tsunami Warning is in place this is your notification that a tsunami is expected. Verify that the notice includes this area and if it does move inland to an area that is outside the tsunami planning zone.
- If you hear a tsunami cancellation message, this is your notification there is no tsunami threat to your area.
- For more complete information on the tsunami hazard in this area view the tsunami information brochure.
A wind-driven wildland fire, out of control and moving fast can quickly spread from the forest to threaten your family’s safety, home and property. In addition, wildland fire can damage or destroy a variety of farm assets including barns and service buildings, crops and feed, fences and corrals. Livestock and other farm animals are also at risk from wildland fire. Some wildfires simply cannot be controlled, due to terrain, fuels, wind, concern for firefighter safety, and other factors. But there are things you, the property owner, can do to protect yourself.
A wildland fire is affected by several factors such as: the amount and type of vegetation near your home, the design, building material selection and placement of your home and whether or not you have planned for a wildland fire emergency.
We would like to help you and your family prepare in the event that a wildland fire affects our community. The summer of 2003 reminds us of the devastation and tragedy a fire can bring to a community. If you live in an urban interface area the Central Saanich Fire Department would like to share with you some ways to protect your family and property. Please call Central Saanich Fire Prevention Inquiries at 250-544-4225 or 250-544-4240.
Six steps to protect your property from wildfire
- Remove fuels surrounding your home and outbuildings
- Keep embers and firebrands from entering your home
- Create a wildland fire safety plan for your property
- Reduce the risk of fires on your property
- Ensure your address is visible and you have good driveway access
- Review the wildland fire risk checklist
Winter storms can create personal safety issues if you are not prepared. Following weather forecasts and paying attention to personal emergency preparedness will reduce any possible impacts to your family and your property. It is a good idea to make a habit of listening to local radio or television stations for weather warnings and advice.
Hazards and Risks Association With Winter Weather Include:
- Car accidents due to slippery roadways;
- Slips and falls on slippery walkways;
- Falls from heights (e.g. cleaning the gutters or roof);
- Hypothermia and frostbite due to exposure;
- Being struck by falling objects such as tree branches;
- Risks due to downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines;
- Roof collapse or property damage under weight of snow or falling trees;
- Exhaustion, exposure or dehydration;
- Isolation and lack of basic supplies including prescription medications;
- Stranded motorists;
- Injuries while shovelling snow;
- Melting snow or storm surges causing flooding; or,
- Home fire safety risk.
Most home-heating systems depend on electric power. To prepare for a power failure, you may consider installing a nonelectric standby stove or heater. Choose approved heating units that do not depend on an electric motor, electric fan or other electrical device to function. If the standby heating unit uses the normal house oil or gas supply, ensure that it is connected and vented properly.
Before considering the use of an emergency home generator during a power outage, check with the dealer or manufacturer regarding power requirements and proper operating procedures. Use caution and follow directions when operating generators, ensuring they are in a proper, well-ventilated area. Do not connect your home portable generator directly to a house wiring system without the proper installation of an approved transfer switch and an inspection and approval by an electrical inspector.
Furnace and fireplace maintenance considerations are very important in preparing for winter weather. Never use a camp stove, barbecue, or propane or kerosene heater indoors. A build-up of carbon monoxide gas in unventilated areas can be deadly.
If Your Home Heating System Fails
Should your home heating system fails:
- Remain calm – your house may remain warm for several hours.
- Avoid opening doors unnecessarily.
- During a power failure, turn off all electrical appliances.
- If you have a safe, approved alternate heat source, begin using it before the house cools down.
- Ensure that you maintain adequate ventilation.
- Stay warm by dressing in layers and bringing out extra blankets.
- Consider closing off one room for primary heating and use.
- If concerned about pipes freezing, opening a tap even a small amount may keep water moving through the system enough to keep pipes from freezing.
Remember, stairways and sidewalks may be icy and increase the risk of falls. Keep these areas clear and snow free. Consider using some salt, sand or other material to provide traction in these areas.
Windchill is a combination of cold temperatures and wind conditions which may cause rapid loss of body temperature. Excess windchill may require special precautions for outdoor activities. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, know how to begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.
In extreme conditions, some people may want to make arrangements to stay with relatives, friends, or neighbours. Listen to weather forecasts and instructions from local officials, as reception or warming centres may be set-up in your community. Keep an eye out for neighbours who may be at risk in severe conditions. Always follow the instructions of first responders and local emergency officials.
Ensure a supply of basic essentials is in your home for at least 72 hours. If you must leave your home on short notice, remember to take your emergency “grab and go” kit. This should include:
- Flashlight and battery powered radio;
- Extra clothing;
- Essential medicines and toiletries;
- Essential emergency supplies including water and food;
- First Aid Kit; and,
- Important documents, cash and family identification.
Although most power outages last for just a few minutes, in extreme cases such as during severe weather events, outages can last for longer periods of time. Extended power outages do happen from time to time, so it makes sense to be prepared.
Think ahead and have a flashlight, electric lantern, extra batteries and candles on supply.
Remember to use candles with caution and with proper candle holders. Never leave candles unattended, as they can be a potential fire hazard. It is recommended to use flashlights or electric lanterns instead.
Prepare for possible isolation in your home and consider an alternative safe heating system. Also ensure that you have sufficient heating fuel for fire places or wood burning stoves. Every home should have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinklers. Families should have a fire escape plan in place.
It is a good idea to assess the trees on your property and trim dead branches to reduce the danger of them falling onto power lines or your house during a storm.
Stay away from fallen power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you may run the risk of electrocution. Also, remember that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the storm.
For more information, see BC Hydro's Outage Preparation Checklist.
- Regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating; after using a bathroom; after coughing/sneezing; after touching surfaces that others may have contaminated.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve to avoid contaminating your hands or spreading the virus through infected droplets.
- Promptly throw away used tissues.
- Frequently clean AND disinfect household surfaces like door handles and light switches.
Check for current Public Health Alerts from HealthLinkBC.