The Need To Be Ready

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Large-scale domestic disasters like the Nepal earthquake last week continue to serve as a stark reminder for the need to be ready.

As part of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 3-9, 2015), the Red Cross encourages all Canadians to be ready. At the Canadian Red Cross, we are reminded every day of that need. In 2014, we helped more than 41,000 Canadians in response to close to 2,900 emergencies – that’s an average of almost eight emergencies every day.

When disaster strikes, the Canadian Red Cross is ready to respond. In fact, the Red Cross is prepared to help before, during and after disasters. The Red Cross believes that individuals and families must also be ready to respond, for their own safety and well-being.

“Canada is not immune to disasters. We were reminded of this as recently as 2013, with the Alberta floods and the Lac-Mégantic train derailment,” said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. “When disaster strikes, emergency services can be compromised and overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath. That’s why it’s important for Canadians to be prepared to care for themselves and their families for a minimum of 72 hours in a disaster, or up to two weeks in a health emergency.”

Emergency Preparedness Week is a national event coordinated by Public Safety Canada with support from provinces, municipalities and other organizations.

“Emergency management is a shared responsibility. This Emergency Preparedness Week, our Government recognizes and thanks first responders, community leaders, and authorities at all levels of government that work together to build a strong and resilient Canada. By working together, we can build community resilience to reduce the worst impacts of natural disasters and other emergencies before they occur,” said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

There are three simple steps Canadians can take to help prepare themselves and their families:
1.) Know the risks in their community
2.) Have a plan so that each family member knows what to do in an emergency
3.) Get an emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies for each family member, including: non-perishable food, water, a manual can opener, flashlights and radios, cash in small bills, and special needs items like diapers or medications.

The Red Cross offers personal preparedness workshops, provides tips online and works with community partners to promote disaster preparedness across Canada. Every year, the Red Cross educates approximately 50,000 people in disaster preparedness, helping Canadians everywhere be ready.

During Emergency Preparedness Week, Canadians can receive a discount on a bundle of Canadian Red Cross emergency preparedness items at www.redcrossproducts.ca.

For more information, visit www.redcross.ca/ready or take part in the various Emergency Preparedness Week activities held across the country. Canadians can also learn more about emergency kits by using the Canadian Red Cross Preparedness Calculator on Facebook.