It was August 14th, 2003 and I was home with my tween and infant sons when the power went out. That wasn’t such a rare occurrence where we live so I wasn’t overly concerned. We moved outside to enjoy the breeze while we waited for the power to be restored. Eventually my husband returned home and said that the power was out everywhere, not just in our neighbourhood.
Out came the radios while we tried to find out the news (even in 2003, getting out the radio was old school). We sat on the front porch and listened to news reports with the neighbours, learning that this was no minor problem. The blackout extended beyond our neighbourhood, our city and even our province, and it could go on for a while. Since we had no emergency kit in place, we needed to stock up. Some of the stores were already closed due to the lack of power but we managed to get some things we needed, and we cooked using the barbecue.
Power outages remain a common occurrence in Canada. A recent survey conducted by Duracell found that 65% of Canadians reported experiencing a power outage in 2016, solidifying the need for Canadians to have an emergency kit which includes a flashlight and a trusted battery like Duracell.
Canada saw many natural disasters and emergency situations in 2016. The survey also found that almost half the population is concerned about experiencing future emergencies but with only 34% of Canadians stocking an emergency kit that will sustain them for 72 hours if the power went out, the country remains mostly unprepared. See Duracell’s recommendations for your emergency kit below.
May 7-13, 2017 is Emergency Preparedness Week, and this year, Duracell and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) have teamed up to remind Canadians that everyone needs to be prepared in an emergency. People who are prepared to sustain themselves for at least 72 hours after a disaster make it easier for first responders to help those who urgently need it – and this has a significant impact not only on their own survival, but the survival of friends and neighbours.
I learned a few things during the 2003 blackout:
- An emergency kit is essential because you never know when/why you will need it. This was late summer, not a time that weather is generally a concern in Ontario. If the same thing were to happen in winter, like it has in many areas, it could be a dire situation.
- A working radio is important. Without internet or cell service, there is no way to know what is going on and how to get help if you need it.
- You can never have enough flashlights. Leave one in each bathroom (or at least on washroom that everyone agrees to use), give one to each kid and make sure each adult has one too.
- If you don’t have a battery drawer, make one now! The radio, the flashlights, battery operated chargers if there is cell service…these all need reliable batteries like Duracell.
- Keep a case or two of bottled water stashed away for emergencies.
- Candles and matches should always be on hand and can work well for heat in small spaces, but don’t go to bed with them lit and don’t leave them alone in rooms with small children.
- Check on your neighbours. There are only so many first responders out there, so if you are doing okay and you’re able, make the rounds in the neighbourhood and see what you can do to help others.
What are your recommendations for Emergency Preparedness Week? Leave them in the comments. I would love to hear them.