Residents urged to develop plan for wildfires and other emergencies

By Charlene Tebbutt
May 18, 2018 - 8:00am

With wildfires burning across the province, safety advocates say it’s important to have a plan for emergencies.

Wildfires continue to burn in the Crutwell area, the southwest portion of the Prince Albert National Park, and other areas of northern and central Saskatchewan. While some communities have been evacuated, others remain on standby. The Canadian Red Cross is working to house some evacuees already, and officials with the humanitarian organization said it's important to stay informed. That means knowing how close wildfires are, learning where the evacuation centre will be, and knowing what to do before and after leaving.

Rod Orr, with the Saskatchewan disaster management team of the Canadian Red Cross, said it’s important for evacuees to register with local emergency management teams should they have to leave their homes. 

“Even if they’re not going to be staying there, they should register. That way they have access to services that are being provided, either by the government or Red Cross,” Orr said. “It also allows us to help out-of-town people, for example, to track family members.”

Residents should have an emergency kit prepared including medications, copies of prescriptions, phone chargers and any important documents they might need, Orr said. According to the Red Cross, families with pets should plan for temporary shelter as pets are typically not allowed into relief shelters. Rural residents with livestock should leave their animals unsheltered if possible should they be asked to leave.

Orr said it’s best to turn off the water and power to your home in the case of an evacuation, as this makes the home safer should anyone have to enter. Those whose homes may be at risk but have not been evacuated should also have a plan to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours, Orr said, including food, first aid supplies, water, and bedding.

“Have a plan for your family," Orr said. "It’s so important."

Brenda Mishak lives near the Crutwell fire, and said this is not the first time she’s had to plan for an evacuation.

“There should be clear instruction on how to prepare your home, how to prepare your family, how to talk to your kids, where to bring your pets, where to bring your livestock, what does an imminent threat to your home look like and what do you do,” Mishak said. “These kinds of things need to be talked about.”

 

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