Leduc County

Emergency preparedness

Before an emergency

It is essential that residents have a plan in place to enable them to protect themselves, their family and neighbours when needed most.

Families may not be together when an emergency occurs, which can make a stressful situation even more difficult. Being prepared will save time and make real situations less stressful.

In the event of a major emergency or disaster, there will likely be a period of time where normal emergency services are interrupted. In that time, residents must rely on their own personal emergency preparedness to get through the first 72 hours.

View/download the 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness Guide

Household emergency plan

Every household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency, and it only takes 20 minutes to prepare.

Disasters often cause confusion and distress, so it is important to take the time now to know the hazards and the risks to better prepare yourself and your family.

Household emergency plans include identifying your home’s emergency exits,  identifying meeting places, detailing the location of fire extinguishers and utility shut-off valves, and identifying emergency contacts.

Individuals are encouraged to look into what plans are in place at their workplace and/or their children’s childcare or school.

Create your household emergency plan online now

72-hour emergency kit

If an emergency happens in your community, you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. One of the best ways to prepared for an emergency is to assemble a 72-hour emergency kit, which will ensure you have all the essential items ready to go, whether you need to evacuate or shelter in place.

Items to pack in your 72-hour emergency kit:

  • Food: three-day supply of non-perishable food per person, such as canned food, energy bars, and dried foods
  • Water: 4L per person per day
  • First aid kit
  • Eating/cooking utensils
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery-powered or crank flashlight
  • Battery-powered or crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra keys to your home and vehicle
  • Copy of your emergency plan
  • Copy of important documents
  • Prescription medication
  • Infant formula, if needed
  • Pet supplies, including food, water, medication, disposable garbage bags, food dishes, collar/harness, leash, crate and liners, and blanket.

Additional items:

  • Candles and matches or lighter
  • Change of clothing and footwear
  • Bedding for each household member
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Basic tools
  • Whistle
  • Duct tape

Pre-packaged kits and supplies can be purchased from the Canadian Red Cross and other commercial entities.

Individuals are encouraged to have an emergency vehicle kit, which would include a blanket, shovel, scraper, warning light or road flares, antifreeze, road maps, non-clumping cat litter or sand, jumper cables and tow rope.

View an online checklist of what you should pack in your emergency kit

Municipal emergency preparedness

As required by the Government of Alberta, Leduc County maintains a municipal Emergency Management Plan that details steps to be taken in the event of an emergency or disaster in Leduc County. This plan is updated annually and Leduc County regularly undertakes exercises of its Emergency Management Plan, including tabletop exercises, drills and actual live training. Staff attend courses provided by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) on an ongoing basis.

A major emergency mutual-aid agreement is in place between all municipalities located in Leduc County in order to ensure sufficient resources are available if needed. The county also works closely with Edmonton International Airport and Alberta Emergency Management Agency and is an active member of the Capital Region Emergency Planning Partnership.

In the event if an emergency or disaster, the county may declare a State of Local Emergency which provides legislated powers to the municipality, such as the ability to implement evacuation orders.

Emergency preparedness roles

When it comes to emergency preparedness and emergency management, we all have a role to play.

Individuals and families should be prepared to take care of themselves for a minimum of 72 hours during an emergency and should also understand the basic principles of first aid and safety.

First responders, such as police, paramedics or firefighters, are normally the first to respond to an emergency. They, in conjunction with local municipalities, are responsible for managing most local emergencies.

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency leads the coordination, collaboration and co-operation of all organizations involved in the prevention, preparedness and response to disasters and emergencies in Alberta, and will become involved in large-scale emergencies to provide assistance as required.

Non-government organizations, such as the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and The Salvation Army, play an important role in emergency management, including disaster prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Federal departments and agencies support provincial or territorial agencies, as requested. They also manage emergencies that involve areas of federal jurisdiction, such as nuclear safety, national defence and border security. 

During an emergency

What to do in an emergency

  • Activate and follow your emergency plan.
  • Gather your emergency kit.
  • Make sure you are safe before assisting others.
  • Listen to the radio or television for information from local officials may advise you to stay where you are. Follow their instructions.
  • Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.

Alberta Emergency Alert

Alberta Emergency Alert is designed to provide critical, life-saving information to Albertans when emergencies or disasters occur. When an alert comes through your radio, television, phone or Internet, take immediate action. If an emergency develops, you should follow the safety instructions provided by an alert to protect yourself and your family.

Alerts are distributed to the public through various outlets, including:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Online (websites, social media)
  • Road signage
  • Mobile notifications

Download the Alberta Emergency Alert application from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, or text FollowAB_EmergAlert to 21212 to receive notifications.

Using technology in a disaster

Technology is a great tool to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues. In an emergency or disaster, these tools become vital in helping you and your family get in touch and stay informed. Below are some tips on how best to use technology in an emergency:

  • If possible, use non-voice channels like text messaging, email or social media, as they use less bandwidth than voice communications. A rush of calls can overwhelm cell towers and make it difficult for individuals to make calls. This is particularly concerning when individuals are trying to call 9-1-1 and can’t get a dial tone. Text messages may work even when phone service doesn’t and are less taxing on a phone’s battery.
  • If you must use a phone, keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
  • If you are unable to complete a call, wait 10 seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
  • Corded phones rely on electricity and will not work during a power outage; if you have a landline, keep at least one corded phone in your home.
  • Keep extra batteries or a charger for your mobile device in your emergency kit.
  • Keep your contacts up to date on your phone, email and other channels.
  • Conserve your smartphone’s battery by reducing the screen’s brightness, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using.

Shelter-in-place

An event such as a fire, motor vehicle crash, train derailment, industrial incident or natural disaster may cause a substance release. As a result, emergency responders may request that you shelter-in-place.

This is the practice of going or remaining indoors, which is the most effective response during the first few hours of a substance release, as it creates a buffer between yourself and any toxic hazard that may be in the outside air.

The goal of shelter-in-place is to reduce the movement of air into and out of the building until the hazard has passed. It is based on using a building that is constructed tightly enough to withstand typical Canadian winter weather conditions.

When asked to take shelter, you need to take the following steps:

  • Immediately gather everyone indoors and stay there.
  • Close and lock all windows and outside doors. You can also take the gaps around the diir frames.
  • Extinguish indoor wood-burning fires and, if possible, close flue dampers.
  • Turn off appliances or equipment that either blow out inside air or suck in outside air, such as bathroom fans, built-in vacuum systems, appliances, clothes dryers and air conditioners.
  • Turn down thermostats by about five degrees Celsius to minimize the on-time of furnaces.
  • Leave open all inside doors.
  • Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies, so that you can be contacted by emergency response personnel.
  • Stay tuned to local radio, television and Alberta Emergency Alert.
  • Even if you see people outside, do not leave until you are told to do so.
  • After the hazardous substance has passed you will receive an “all-clear” message; you may receive instructions to ventilate your building by opening all windows and doorsl turning on fans and turning up thermostats. Once the building is completely ventilated, return all equipment to normal.

Evacuation

Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe that you may be in danger. If you are ordered to evacuate, take the following items with you:

  • Emergency kit
  • Wallet
  • Personal identification
  • Copies of essential documents (birth certificate, insurance records, health care information, etc.)
  • Cell phone and charger

Do not leave your pets behind. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. It is important for pet owners to determine where they will bring their pets ahead of time, as not all emergency reception centres accept pets. Owners can contact their veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels, ask a local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter, identify hotels outside of the immediate area that accept pets or ask friends or family outside the immediate area if they would be willing to take in a pet.

Before leaving your home, shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to do so. Unless otherwise directed, leave natural gas on. Make sure all windows are closed and that your doors are locked upon exit.

If you have time, call or email your emergency contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Use travel routes specified by local authorities

If you go to an evacuation centre, register your personal information at the registration desk. Do not return home until authorities advise that it is safe to do so.

After an emergency

Natural or human-caused disasters challenge our coping skills, even if we only witness them on television. If they touch our lives more closely, they can cause a lot of distress, fear and anxiety. We worry about our own safety, the safety of our loved ones and our community.

Events of this kind can also stir up memories and feelings about violent or painful events that we may have experienced in the past, and can makes any stressful circumstances we are currently facing more difficult to handle.

It is important to be aware that stressful feelings are normal when our lives are touched by catastrophic events, and that there are steps we can take to feel better.

  • Take breaks from media reports and from thinking about the events
  • Take time to relax and exercise
  • Talk about your feelings, thoughts and reactions with friends, relatives, coworkers, teachers or leaders of your faith community.
  • Eat healthy foods and don’t use alcohol, tobacco or illicit substances to cope
  • Visit friends and family
  • Help any group you are part of to be fair, accepting and understanding

If you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, it is important to seek additional assistance. Leduc County residents can call 211 to be connected to service providers in the community.