With record-breaking temperatures over the holidays, our city definitely got a Christmas present we will never forget. Typically immune to natural disasters, Toronto was hit hard twice in 2013. First it was the extreme summer flood followed by the ice storm.
While some of us were luckier than others, we can’t be sure that we’ll be just as lucky next time. We survived the worst of the weather. Before the memories of just how bad it was fades away, now is the time to gather tips from your own experience and others and create your own Emergency Kit to better handle an emergency situation when it strikes again.
Gathering tips from one another after this type of event is a great way to make sure you’re ultra prepared for the next time nature strikes.
- Extra batteries are a must. If you were without power for days at time, you’ll likely agree that your battery-operated radio and flashlight came in handy. Remember, batteries have a shelf life of 2-4 years.
- Candles and hot water bottles aren’t just for romantic evenings. Having short, stocky candles on hand means you can safely light up the dark rooms and generate some warmth, while stocking up on hot water bottles means you can cuddle up to something warm when you are feeling chilled to the bone.
- Consider if a generator is right for you. The up-front cost may seem hefty at first but once you consider how a generator could have helped you in those situations it may be worth it. A portable generator for home use costs between $200-$800. It can be shared amongst close family and friends.
- Cooking without electricity. If you have a gas stove, you’re in luck. Otherwise, your barbecue would be the next best thing. Always have a spare full propane tank. Other options include your long forgotten fondue set and a camp stove. Remember, barbecues and camp stoves are designed for outdoor use and must be used outdoors.
- Being friendly with your neighbours isn’t just about being social. You will be able to knock on a welcoming door if you need any help in an emergency.
- An emergency cheat sheet and small safety box. On a piece of paper, record your family and friends’ phone numbers, your personal identification numbers and credit card information and their contact numbers – lock them in your safety box.
Other blackout must-haves:
- Extra money – ATMs will not work
- Canned foods and a hand-crank can opener – enough to feed you and your family for a week
- Jugs of water – enough to keep you and your family hydrated for a week
- Blocks of ice – for keeping food cold
- Extra blankets – for those long, cold nights
- First aid kit – in case of injury due to darkness
by Kathleen O’Hagan