For Your Safety - Be Prepared!

While some potential emergencies such as a fire can be prevented, the simple reality is there are other emergencies such as severe winter weather or power outages that you cannot prevent. For your safety and the safety of your neighbors, you must do what you can to prevent emergency incidents and be prepared to deal with the emergencies if they do occur. 

This page and the other pages related to your safety are intended to help you prepare to deal with emergencies if they occur. It would be impossible to suggest ways for you to deal with every potential emergency. You need to be knowledgeable regarding potential emergencies and you need to be prepared to act if an emergency does occur to be safe! The content of this page is intended as 'food for thought', a place to start to make your own plan, a plan that works for you.

The key to dealing with an emergency is being prepared - PLAN for it.

Plan for What You May Need

The information provided below is based on the Region of Halton & Town of Halton Hills Personal - Emergency Preparedness Guide. Only a portion of the information available is provided here. You should do additional research, find the options that will work best for your needs and make a plan that will work for you.

There are four basic items you should have available if there is an emergency such as a power outage or severe winter storm that makes going out or getting supplies brought in difficult or impossible. The items are water, food, first aid supplies and medicines, and special supplies - enough to last at least 3 or 4 days. These items are discussed in more detail blow.

Water - Fortunately the quality and reliability of our water supply is very good but that does not mean we should not be prepared for an unexpected loss. Something as simple as a broken water main pipe could mean 24, 48 or more hours without water. While water to cook, wash and flush the toilet is important for personal hygiene reasons the most critical is water to drink. An average person needs to drink at least two liters (8 cups) of water each day - that is 4 x 500ml bottles of water. At least an additional 2 bottles (1 liter) per person per day should be allowed to provide water for cooking and personal hygiene. Therefore, at least 6 x 500ml bottles (3 liters) per person per day is required in total.

  • You should store at least a three-day supply of water, 18 bottles minimum, (9 liters) for each person in your apartment.

You should never ration water. Drink the amount you need today to stay healthy and then try to find more for tomorrow.  You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity but it is difficult to determine how much less water you need with less activity.

Do not reduce your daily water intake without discussing it with your doctor or a qualified dietician.  You may not need to drink 2 liters per day but that decision should be made with the help of a medical professional.

A case of 24 to 30 500ml bottles of water can be purchased at grocery stores for about $3 and has a life expectancy of over a year.  Water can be purchased in larger bottles but they are heavier and potentially harder to handle. With the 500ml bottles it is also easier to keep track of how much you are drinking.​

When water availability is limited, try to think of ways to conserve water.  For example, rather than letting it go down the sink drain, save the water you use to cook or wash with and use it to dump in the toilet bowl to flush the toilet.

There is a great deal more information about emergency water supply and management on government websites (province, region & town) and in print from the Region of Halton and Town of Halton Hills.

Food - Preparing an emergency food supply is not as difficult as it may seem but it does require some thought and planning. The food should be;

  • nonperishable - foods that require no refrigeration,

  • be ready-to-eat - do not need to be cooked, such as

    • canned meats, beans, fruits and vegetables,

    • dried fruit, vegetables and meat

    • cured meats and fish

    • peanut butter, jam, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix,

    • meal replacement drinks and snack bars

  • include staples such as: sugar, salt, pepper, spices, and

  • include some comfort /stress foods - cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals,​ vegetable chips including potato chips.

Remember -

  • Be sure to consider food allergies, diabetes and other potential health issues when planning your emergency food supply.

  • There should be at least a three-day supply of food for each person in the apartment.

  • Important - Make sure you have a manual can opener to open your canned goods.​

Calorie Intake is important for everyone to maintain their health.  It is particularly important for seniors that may have declining health simply as a result of aging. Paying attention to your calorie intake, what you are eating, will potentially have a significant affect on your ability to be active and do things. This may be critical in an emergency.

Looking at your potential calorie intake will help keep you healthy but it is also a good way to determine how much emergency food supply you will need. For example, a moderately active senior woman weighing 115 pounds would need about 1,840 calories daily, while a moderately active senior man weighing 160 pounds requires about 2,560 calories a day to maintain his weight.  Packaged foods that you may want on hand for an emergency, all have their nutritional values including calories on the packaged. For example, a 235ml protein drink has about 250 calories, 25 potato chips has about 250 - 300 calories, a tablespoon of peanut butter has about 90 calories, a can of salmon has 280 calories and 2 slices of multi-grain bread has about 180 calories.

​With a little effort you could determine what foods will give you the most energy (most calories) and how much of it you will need each day.  For example, a cup of coffee with cream and sugar (about 100 calories), 2 slices of toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter would start your day with approximately 460 calories - 25% of the calories needed for a woman and almost 20% for a man.  A salmon sandwich for lunch would add approximately 300 - 350 calories.  A late afternoon snack of potato chips adds another 250-300 calories. Before you consider what to have for dinner you have potentially consumed 1,000 - 1,150 calories.

Remember, calories from sweets play a role in keeping your energy level up but are not the best kind of calories for you. You also need the protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and other good things in your food that sweets don't offer. If you have access to a dietician through the seniors center, diabetic clinic or you family doctor, they may be able to help you plan a 3 to 4 day emergency supply of food based on your health and nutrition needs.

There is a great deal more information about emergency food supply, storage and management on government websites (province, region & town) and in print from the Region of Halton and Town of Halton Hills.

 Heating / Cooking Food

With the right equipment and proper safety measures, it is possible to warm and cook food during a power outage. The 2 most common options are a fondue pot and a chafing tray or pot.  Both use open flame and require a great deal of caution when in use.

A fondue pot that uses 'tea light' candles is the safest choice because the candle is smaller, generates less heat and is easier to use.  It takes time, but water can be boiled in the fondue pot for a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

The chafing tray or pot is similar to the hot trays commonly used on buffet tables in restaurants.  It uses a jelled 'chafing' fuel in a tin. Sterno is the most common brand name as a result the fuel is often called 'sterno' even though it was not made by that company.

Remember - you will also need a lighter or matches. 

First Aid Supplies having a complete first aid kit and first aid manual in your apartment is a good idea at all times just to deal with minor cuts, scrapes, and minor burns.  Accidents happen and being prepared is the smart thing to do. The Canadian Red Cross recommends the following items be included in a first aid kit.

  • Emergency telephone numbers for EMS/9-1-1, your local poison control center, and your personal doctors

  • Home and office phone numbers for family members, friends, or neighbours who can help

  • Sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares to place over wounds

  • Adhesive tape

  • Roller and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make an arm sling

  • Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Safety pins

  • Instant ice packs

  • Disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves

  • Antiseptic wipes or soap

  • Pencil and pad

  • Eye patches

  • Thermometer

  • Barrier devices, such as a pocket mask or face shield

  • Coins for pay phone

There is a great deal more information about first aid and first aid supplies available from the Canadian Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance and similar organizations. You local pharmacist may also be able to provide recommendations on what may best suit your needs for first aid supplies.

Additional Supplies
The following are examples of the type of items you may need for use in an emergency. Many you would  use even when there is no emergency.  For items you use frequently be sure your supply never is less than enough for 3 or 4 days.

  • Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, storage containers that do not need to be washed after use.

  • Battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries

  • Duct tape

  • Paper, pencil, needles, thread

  • Toilet paper, towelettes, soap, liquid detergent, unscented household chlorine bleach, plastic garbage bags, 

There is a great deal more information about emergency food supply, storage and management on government websites (province, region & town) and in print from the Region of Halton and Town of Halton Hills.

Evacuation - Be Prepared

Procedures to follow to rapidly evacuate the building in an emergency such as a fire are provided on a separate page. This section is to help identify items that you would likely need to take with you if you needed to evacuate the building in the event of a power outage or similar event where evacuating was less urgent. These items should be organized and in an area where you could easily and quickly pack them to leave.  Some of these suggestions would also be beneficial if you are injured or ill and unexpected taken to the hospital by ambulance. Having a checklist to use in an emergency is a good way to be sure nothing gets missed.

  • Medications - prescription medications are most important but any 'over the counter' medications such as vitamins and supplements taken frequently should be included. It is a good idea to keep you medications in a bag that can be ready to go with little effort and in little time.

  • Clothing - enough clothing to get through 3 or 4 days. To be prepared for fast and easy evacuation, a good idea is to pack older clothing that you are not using any more into a plastic bag and put it on a shelf to grab and go if you need it. Up to date fashion is not important in an emergency shelter.

  • Personal Needs/Hygiene - if non-prescription eye glasses will work for you, pack glasses with travel size tooth paste, shampoo, soap and other personal hygiene items with your emergency clothing. 

  • Identification - documents such as your health car, driver's license, passport, credit cards, bank cards insurance cards may all become important and needed during an evacuation. It is good idea to keep any that are not normally in your purse or wallet, in a bag that can be easily and quickly grabbed to go.

  • Contact Information - the name and contact number / information should be a written list kept handy if needed in an emergency. The list should include family close members, doctor(s), pharmacy, insurance policy numbers, and more. It is good idea to keep the list with your medications so it is available to EMS if you are taken to the hospital. 

There is a great deal more information about what you can do to be prepared for an emergency and for emergency evacuations on government websites (province, region & town) and in print from the Region of Halton and Town of Halton Hills. Some community organizations and insurance companies may also provide guidance in emergency preparation measures.

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