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October 17th, 2017
Did anything like this ever happen to you?

Did anything like this ever happen to you?

Prepare for the Unexpected

Just when you don’t expect it, something can happen that’s unexpected. It’s not a life and death situation, but the event can cause frustration, make you late or “lose your cool”, or just upset your plans. But with a little preparation – and some helpful tips – you can be ready for life’s little “potholes”.


You’re out in your car and realize that you’ve forgotten your wallet or purse. How are you going to pay for parking or keep that lunch date? Even make a phone call?

Life saver:

Always keep a bit of cash hidden in your car, about $20 and some change.


Late one evening, I drove to the hockey arena to pick up my son. It was freezing cold, and I was wearing slippers, no coat and no purse and the battery died!

Life saver:

Keep a small emergency pouch inside your car with change for a phone call, the number for roadside assistance/your mechanic, and a flashlight. In your trunk during the winter, always keep an extra set of gloves and a hat.


On the way to the airport for a vacation, you can’t remember turning off the oven or the backyard sprinkler.

Life saver:

Make sure you leave a key with a neighbour and have their number with you so you can call and check.

Miles from home and you hear that your mother/son/ friend/cleaning lady is at your home and can’t get in!

Life saver:

A “lock box” outside your door containing a key is a great idea because all you have to do is tell someone the code! Worried about security? The code can be changed any time you want.


Your dog smells worse than usual. It’s not the dog, it’s a skunk that’s sprayed him!

Life saver:

Get to work right away before the scent is transferred, and stay outside if you can. Skunk odour spray works well, so does a mixture of baking soda, water, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Change your own clothes because whatever you wear while cleaning him will end up smelling like skunk as well.


It’s the worst feeling. You’ve locked your car door and realize the keys are inside.

Life saver:

Key magnet boxes are available that can be stuck under the car. Or always make sure there’s an extra car key at home or with a family friend.


A stray or wild animal like a raccoon, bird or squirrel has found its way into your home. There may be quite a mess and you don’t know if the animal is still there.

Life saver:

Open the doors with the hope the animal will run out but don’t try to catch it yourself. If you suspect an animal is still inside, call a commercial wildlife removal company. Always keep screens on windows and doors, as well as on outdoor vents (dryer vents, etc.). Avoid using “pet doors” because you can’t control what wanders in!


Oh no! Your refrigerator or freezer isn’t working! What about all that food!

Life saver:

There are appliance repair services that make 24/7 visits. Keep the contact handy, maybe one of those fridge magnets!


Remember without power, food in a refrigerator can last up to 24 hours and a full freezer up to 48 hours, but keep the doors closed! Have a Styrofoam box or cooler in storage that you can use to transfer dairy, milk and meat to a kindly neighbour next door. Suddenly your child announces that she needs money for pizza lunch, or a school trip, or whatever.

Life saver:

We keep a stash of $5 bills away from where we’ll spend them, stored together with envelopes and a pen for writing a note.


Bent over and your cell phone fell into the toilet!

Life saver:

Try not to cry and don’t turn it on (you might short circuit it, bad news) or use heat on it. Wipe with a towel, remove the battery and pack it in a container of rice overnight. We’ve actually saved more than one phone this way.


So you hear a weather warning, or something about a possible emergency, and your first reaction might be "It's probably nothing." Many of us even want to ignore a fire drill when we hear it.

Life saver:

Being prepared means paying attention to warnings and advice, even when we feel too busy to pay attention. And being prepared means that you won't get caught without a basic supply, the right phone number or an extra battery. Remember the blackout in Ontario in 2003? Everyone has their own story of that night. It reminded all of us that large or small emergencies can happen, and it's always better when you're prepared.


And I can’t believe that…

We never know what small disaster might happen. Often the best “life saver” is a friendly neighbour who’s there to help out. Make sure you know who lives around you and arrange with someone you trust how to help each other out in an emergency.

For Major Emergencies see page 40.


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