Emergencies and disasters have a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect them. Their suddenness and often their severity can leave us shocked and saddened. With this in mind, take a few minutes now to read up on how best to plan and prepare for disasters that we all hope don’t take place. But as the saying goes, hope is never a good strategy.

Start with these three things in mind. Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area. Check your insurance coverages. And make an emergency plan for higher probability disasters that may occur in your area.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

During an emergency, life-saving information is quickly sent throughout Canada via the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System. It is a key component of a broader national public alerting system of radio and television stations, cable and satellite TV companies, and other last mile distributors (LMDs) so public safety officials can quickly and effectively alert and warn the public about serious emergencies. Many Canadians also receive phone text messages designed to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration. These alerts are unaffected by network congestion and will not disrupt texts, calls, or data sessions in progress. They are your best source of information about pending emergencies.

Review Your Insurance Coverages

Your home, your business, and the many belongings that each contains are valuable assets. Studies show that more than half of all homeowners are underinsured should a catastrophic loss occur. Procrastinating is not the option you want to take when it comes to disaster planning, and the same applies to reviewing your coverages. Take time now to document your property, understand your current insurance coverages, amounts and deductibles, and be certain that you have appropriate coverages for relevant hazards.

Write a Multi-Step Plan That Makes Sense for You, Your Family, Your Business

Your disaster plan is not a one-size-fits-all document. Start with a list of potential emergency situations. Tailor your plans and the supplies you’ll need to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how neighbours, friends, coworkers and family members can communicate and care for children, business, and pets, or meet specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep some of these factors in mind when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children and elderly members should take extra steps

Doing the necessary prep work to have a sound emergency plan will take a bit of time and effort. Should future circumstances require you to enact it, you’ll be happy you made the effort ahead of time.