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Climate change: Emergencies and disasters in Canada

In January, Canadian Red Cross CEO Conrad Sauvé met with Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to discuss climate change as it relates to disasters that Canadians experience.

A changing climate causes an increase in volatile conditions that play a part in severe weather and natural disasters. Serious winter storms, heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and flooding are some of the adverse weather and disasters we’ve seen in Canada – climate change can increase the likelihood of these, and in some cases, increase the severity as well.

The good news is that the Canadian Red Cross has a vast network of highly-trained volunteers across the country who are ready to help, like they did during the Alberta wildfires in Slave Lake, and Saskatchewan floods. The other good news is that Canadians can prepare for potential emergencies and disasters.

Climate change means seeing unexpected weather conditions in areas that were not typically at-risk for them in the past (like tornado warnings). Because of that, it’s important to pay attention to local weather reports when things are looking rough outside, and to take shelter or evacuate when called for – even if it feels unlikely a situation will become serious. Paying attention to the known risks for your area, like flooding, forest fires, or extreme temperatures, is also important.  

Take the time to plan ahead with your family about what to do in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Finally, be ready for emergencies and disasters with an emergency kit that can meet your family’s needs for at least 72 hours.
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