With the Fort McMurray fire occurring in the same week as Lloydminster’s Emergency Preparedness Week, and seeing thousands of people forced to evacuate their city, the concept of emergency preparedness was even more fitting.
For emergency preparedness in the city, several things were going on, including Chief for A Day (a couple weeks ago), wherein students got firsthand experience with Lloydminster’s emergency services; the Emergency Preparedness conference at the Stockade on Thursday, May 5th; and Emergency Management Coordinator with the City, Anne Danielson, and John Halliday, from the local branch of the Red Cross, ran a pilot project of an emergency preparedness program for youth, bringing the message to 130 grade 5 students of the public school division.
Danielson says that people need to expect the unexpected, and be aware, as Lloydminster has its own, unique hazards.
“What is your household emergency plan? Have you packed an emergency preparedness kit? So, if you have to leave your house at a moment’s notice, whether it’s a small emergency—it might just be contained to your individual house, like a house fire—or whether it’s a large one like we’re seeing in the province. Are you prepared to leave immediately,” says Danielson.
Families packing emergency kits are advised to pack enough food and water for themselves, and their families, including pets, for at least 3 days.
“The reason behind that is first responders are going to be very busy in a large emergency, and we don’t want to put extra stress on them, so if you’re able to care for yourself for at least those first three days—hopefully while the situation gets stabilized—then that relieves a lot of pressure on those services,” explains Danielson.
Aside from food and water, Danielson offers some tips for what to include in your emergency kit.
“Things like flashlights, extra batteries, phone chargers, important documents… lots of times we store those away where we have to go rummage for them, but you can store them on a flash-drive. Store copies of them so then you have them when you’re ready to go… petty cash, keep that on hand, and if you have pets, make sure you pack supplies for them as well because if you’re told to evacuate, you’re probably not going to want to leave your pet behind.”
Another way in which Lloydminster residents can stay “in the known” and prepare is by signing up for the City’s emergency alerts, which are issued via text, phone call, or email based on your preference.
“I would just say, you know what, don’t put it off ‘till tomorrow. We always say, ‘it’s not going to happen here,’ or you know, ‘you can do it tomorrow.’ It takes literally like 5 minutes to sign up for Emergency Alert. Go and do that. That can be really helpful. Again, that’s how we’re going to notify residents if there’s an emergency in Lloydminster,” says Danielson. “There’s also the option on there to include other skills that you have. So if need arises for certain volunteer skills, and we needed additional resources, we could pull up a report, and see, ‘oh, who has these skills?’”
You can sign up to receive alerts online for free at www.lloydminster.ca/alertcenter