Canadian Red Cross Urges Communities to Plan for Emergencies
(OTTAWA, 7 May 2012) – Although approximately 85 percent of Canadians believe it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit to protect their and their family’s safety in a disaster, more than 20 million people in Canada do not have one. Disasters can strike anywhere at any time, and Canadians should be prepared to care for themselves and their families for at least 72 hours in a disaster, and up to two weeks in a health emergency like a pandemic.
“Emergencies happen when we least expect them, and having an emergency plan can save precious time, ensure your family’s safety, and allow emergency responders to focus on those in urgent need” said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general of the Canadian Red Cross. “To mark Emergency Preparedness Week, the Canadian Red Cross is encouraging Canadians to plan for emergencies by learning about the risks in their communities, making a work and home evacuation plan, and making or getting an emergency preparedness kit”.
Canadians are not immune to natural hazards. In just a two-month period last spring, 23,000 people were forced from their homes due to wildfires and floods in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec. The Canadian Red Cross responded to nearly 2,500 separate disasters across the country last year, including everything from house fires to wildfires, floods, landslides and hurricanes. Red Cross volunteers and staff provided help to more than 43,000 people affected by emergencies in that time.
“As we see an increase in the frequency and severity of disasters, now is the time to ensure you are prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones during an emergency,” adds Sauvé.
The Canadian Red Cross supports national and local health authorities with emergency preparedness and response activities. In the event of a large health emergency or pandemic, the Canadian Red Cross is ready to provide support to communities based on agreements with various public authorities and the current needs. This may include supporting public messaging on prevention and preparedness or providing direct support to Canadians who are unable to leave their homes during the emergency.
For more information on how to help you take care of yourself and your loved ones during an emergency, visit www.redcross.ca/prepare.
For interview requests please call:
Canadian Red Cross media line 613-740-1994