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Personal Emergency Preparedness

Disasters take many forms: floods, winter storms, chemical spills, forest fires, earthquakes etc. When disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do. Be prepared to be on your own without help for 72 hours or more whether you are at home, in your car or at work. Securing your home and putting together an emergency kit is vital - it will give you peace of mind to know that your family is prepared.

Along with everything below, make sure you have a Personal Emergency Supply Kit as well as a Grab and Go Kit for your home, workplace, and vehicle.

Household Emergency Plan

Develop an emergency plan to help you and your family know what to do after an emergency or if you need to
evacuate your home or neighbourhood. It will take you about 20 minutes to prepare your plan.

When creating your plan:

  • Assign specific tasks to family member like gathering pets, collecting the supplies, providing first aid, etc.
  • List the most important items to be taken with you and only those that can be hand carried.
  • Mark the date you prepared your plan and update it as changes occur.
  • Keep your plan in a place that’s easy to find and to remember (e.g. with your emergency kit) as well as other locations such as your car, work and on your computer.
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows about the plan. Practice it with everyone at least once a year.

Escape Routes

Make sure you and everyone in your family/household knows all the escape routes:

  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing main and alternate exits from each room, as well as locations of extinguishers, water and gas valves, electrical box, emergency supplies, and an outdoor meeting place.
  • If you live in an apartment, plan to use the stairs rather than the elevators. If you would be unable to use the stairs, notify Surrey Fire Service ahead of time so that the information is put on file.
  • Make note of escape route options from your neighbourhood.

Meeting Places

Identify a safe place near the home (e.g. at a neighbour’s) and away from the home (e.g. at a relative’s home, local school or church) where everyone should meet if they have to leave during an emergency.
The meeting place near your home should be on the same side of the street as your home, so you don’t need to cross the street into traffic or in front of emergency vehicles.

Emergency Contact Information

Create an emergency contact list with all of the following identified. Leave a copy close to your telephone and in your emergency kits at home, work and vehicle. Make sure everyone has a copy in their wallet or programmed into their cell phone.

Local emergency numbers:

  • Fire, police, ambulance: 911
  • Poison control

Have the following for Family contacts and friend/neighbour contacts:
Include information for all household members other and relatives.

  • Name
  • Phone numbers: home, work, cell
  • Email address
  • Home address

Work/school/child care contacts

  • Employer name, address and phone numbers
  • School name, address and phone numbers
  • Daycare or child care provider name, address and phone numbers
  • Designated person for pickup of children from school or daycare – name, address and phone numbers

Out of town contacts

Plan for each family member to contact the same out-of-town contact person in the event of an emergency. Everyone should call this person, tell them where they are and how they are doing, and arrange a future check-in time. Choose a contact who lives far enough away (e.g. out of province) that he or she will probably not be affected by the same event. Choose someone with voicemail or an answering machine, and who lives in a long-distance area since long-distance service is often easier to obtain after a disaster.

If you are new to Canada or don’t have an out-of-town contact person, make arrangements through friends, cultural associations or community organizations.

Important Documents and Records

When disaster strikes, you may need to access important contact numbers and household documents. Keep copies in two secure locations, such as a safety deposit box, fireproof safe or watertight bags in the freezer. You could also exchange documents with others you trust or upload to a secure location on the internet (e.g. secure cloud storage).

Gather copies of information such as:

  • House insurance policies, photos/receipts to assist with claims, and contact information
  • Life insurance or other policies and contact information
  • Deeds, wills, tax records and birth certificates
  • Health records and personal medical information such as prescriptions (medication and eye), allergies and special needs
  • Social insurance and passport numbers
  • Bank/financial account numbers
  • Vehicle make, plate number and identification number
  • Utility companies: gas, hydro, internet, telephone
  • Lawyer, doctor, dentist and other medical service provider contact information
  • Landlord contact information,
  • Security alarm company contact information

Evacuation Procedures

Your house may not be habitable or safe after a disaster, or authorities may ask you to leave if they believe you are in danger.

If you are required to evacuate:

  • Collect your Grab and Go kit, essential medications, copies of prescriptions and important documents, and a cell phone.
  • Ensure each member of the household has warm clothing and waterproof footwear and outerwear.
  • Make sure each member has ID, especially children. Nametags on their clothing, wallet cards or wrist bracelets are useful in case you get separated.
  • Turn off and unplug all appliances, and shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to. Leave natural gas service on unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you go turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it, which may take weeks after a major emergency.
  • Lock your doors when you leave.

When you leave, follow the specified evacuation routes. Shortcuts could take you to a blocked or dangerous area.

If your meeting location changes, make sure everyone knows about the change and the new location. Provide children with a note sealed in a plastic bag stating the destination.

Register with the local emergency reception centre when you leave home, even if you are not staying at the centre. Emergency responders need to know how to reach you to advise when it is safe to return.

Reception Centres

Surrey has 6 six primary and 6 secondary designated evacuation/reception centres to support the residents in the event of a disaster. The number of centers that open depends on the location and the nature of the situation and any necessary evacuation measures.

During an evacuation, City officials will inform the public of the location of the nearest reception centre. Information will also be broadcasted on CBC AM 690 or other local radio/TV stations, and posted on our site and social media accounts.

Learn more about Emergency Social Services.

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