Emergencies and disasters can happen with little or no warning. To help protect yourself and your family, take steps today to prepare for potential emergencies and plan your response.
Before an emergency
Knowing the potential emergencies you could face allows you and your family to plan your response. Identifying responses unique to each emergency makes it easier to act fast at a time when seconds matter.
Below are a few potential emergencies you could experience in Leduc County; click each link to learn how to prepare for and respond to each type of emergency:
Every household needs an emergency plan. These plans include important information to help guide you through an emergency, and only takes 20 minutes to develop.
Household emergency plans include contact information – including for family members, schools or childcare, emergency contacts, insurance and emergency services – and instructions for what to do in an emergency with special notes regarding children, special health needs and pets.
Families aren’t always together when an emergency happens; discuss what you would do in different situations.
In the event of a major emergency or disaster, normal emergency services are often interrupted. You may need to rely on your own personal emergency preparedness to get you through at least the first 72 hours.
A 72-hour emergency kit will help ensure you have all the essential items on hand, such as the following:
- non-perishable food
- a first-aid kit
- matches and/or lighters
- copies of important documents
- prescription medication
Some specific considerations are needed for pets, infants and those with health conditions. Learn more about what you should pack if these apply to you or a family member
Update your kits every six months; make preparedness a habit by reassessing your kit when changing the clocks at daylight savings time.
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.
During 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. Follow their instructions.
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.
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. A major emergency mutual-aid agreement is in place between all municipalities located within Leduc County boundaries to ensure sufficient resources are available in an emergency. 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.
The Government of Alberta, through 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.
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:
- 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.
Alert Ready is a national notification system that automatically sends life-saving emergency alerts through television, radio and LTE-connected and compatible wireless devices.
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:
- Ensure your family emergency plan includes a communications plan. Designate
someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members
know who to contact if they become separated.
- Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion and free up the network for emergency communications. It will also save battery power if you are using a wireless phone.
- If possible, use non-voice channels like text messaging, email or social media, as these use less bandwidth than voice communications and may work even when phone service has been disrupted.
- If you must use a phone, keep your conversation brief and convey only vital
information. Keeping calls short also saves the battery life of your mobile phone.
- If you are unable to complete a call, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
- Keep extra batteries or a charger for your mobile device in your emergency kit. Consider getting a solar-powered, crank or vehicle phone charger to ensure that your
phone is available for use when you need it the most.
- If you have been evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, use it to
forward calls to your cell phone.
- If you do not have a hands-free device in your car, stop driving or pull over to the side of the road before texting, making a call or using the device.
- Keep your contacts up to date on your phone, email and other channels.
- Note that cordless 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.
- Remember, in an emergency or to save a life, call 9-1-1 for help. You cannot currently text 9-1-1. If you are not experiencing an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. If your area offers 3-1-1 service or another information system, call that number for non emergencies. Additionally, for information about provincial services and programs, call 310-0000.
During an emergency, you may be instructed to shelter-in-place. This means you must remain inside your home, office or vehicle and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, clothes dryers, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in contaminated air from the outside.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your emergency kit and make sure the radio is working and that your cell phone is fully charged.
- Go to an interior room that is above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
- Keep your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
- Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. You can also use damp clothes or cloth as a seal, if required.
- Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.
If you are in your vehicle, follow the below steps:
- If you are very close to home, your office or a public building, go there immediately and go inside. Follow the shelter-in-place recommendations for the place you pick as
- If you are unable to get to a building quickly and safely, pull over to the side of the road. Stop your vehicle in the safest place possible. If it is sunny outside, stop under a bridge or in a shady spot to avoid being overheated (so long as you are not blocking traffic).
- Turn off the engine. Close windows and vents.
- If possible, seal the heating/air conditioning vents (use duct tape if available).
- Listen to the radio regularly for updated advice and instructions.
- Stay where you are until you are told it is safe to get back on the road. Be aware that
some roads may be closed or traffic may be detoured. Local officials on the scene are
the best source of information for your particular situation.
Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe that you are in danger. If you are ordered to evacuate, plan to evacuate with enough items to keep your family comfortable for a minimum of 72 hours.
Take the following items with you:
- Emergency plan
- Emergency kit
- Personal identification
- Copies of essential documents (birth certificate, insurance records, health care information, etc.)
- Cell phone and charger
- Essential medications and copies of prescriptions
- 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.
- Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to.
- Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off. If you turn off the gas, the gas company has to reconnect it. In a major emergency, it could take weeks for a professional to respond. You would be without gas for heating and cooking.
- If the evacuation occurs in the winter, take the following additional precautions:
- Turn off the water and drain the water from your plumbing system. Starting at the top of the house, open all taps, and flush toilets several times.
- Go to the basement and open the drain valve.Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor (if you have a gas-fired tank, the pilot light should be turned out — call the local gas supplier to re-light it).
- Protect the valve, inlet pipe, and meter or pump with blankets or insulation material.
- Lock your windows and doors.
If you have time
- Call or e-mail your out-of-town contact. Tell them where you are going and when you
expect to arrive. Once you are safe, let them know. Tell them if any family members
have become separated.
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going. If you have a
mailbox, leave the note in there.
- If appropriate and available, consider registering with the evacuee registry. This will
make it easier for you to attain critical information and services when they are available.
After an emergency
Do not return home until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so. Once you are given the go-ahead, follow the below steps:
- If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your
home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
- Use extreme caution when returning to your home after a disaster.
- Appliances that may have been flooded pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on. Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician.
- The main electrical panel must be cleaned, dried, and tested by a qualified electrician to ensure that it is safe.
- Depending on where you live, your municipal or provincial inspection authority is
responsible for the permitting process required before your electric and gas utilities can reconnect to your home.
- Rely on the professionals to make sure the building is structurally safe. Do not enter if
you see buckled walls or floors.
- Take safety precautions. Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass and other potentially
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.