How Calgarians should prepare in case of emergency

Do you know what to do if disaster strikes?

Annual Disaster Alley event being held Saturday at McMahon Stadium

Calgary Emergency Management Agency deputy Chief Sue Henry has been selected as the agency's next chief. She takes the helm on Dec. 1. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

Do you know what to do if disaster strikes?

To help Calgarians be better prepared in the event of emergency, the city is holding its annual Disaster Alley at McMahon Stadium from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, featuring interactive displays and demonstrations by Calgary first responders.

The family event is held each year as a kick-off to the national Emergency Preparedness Week, running May 6 to 12.

"It gives you a chance to see some live demonstrations, to get some hands-on with some of the equipment we have, as well as to learn everything there is to know about preparedness," said Calgary Emergency Management Agency deputy Chief Sue Henry,.

One way for Calgarians to be prepared in case of disaster, says Henry, is to keep an updated 72-hour emergency kit in their homes.

"We never know when a disaster is going to happen," said Henry. "We can be out and about doing our day-to-day lives and out of the blue, something occurs. It gives us the chance as families to really be prepared and have everything in one location," she said.

Some things a kit should be included are:

  • Photocopies of documents like passports, insurance and driver's licence in a water-proof container.
  • Enough food and water for 72 hours.
  • A can opener (if your kit has canned food).
  • Duct tape.
  • Windup flashlight.
  • Whistle.
  • Prescription medication (to be swapped out regularly. If you cannot store extra medication in your kit, make sure to take it with you in an evacuation).
  • Pet food if you have animals.
  • Diapers if you have young children.

Henry also encourages Calgarians to meet their neighbours and learn the layout of their neighbourhood.

"Often when things happen, community members are the first ones responding to each other before emergency services can get on site," she said.

Kits should include enough water, food and supplies to last 72 hours. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, a test will be done May 9 on a newly enacted national system that will send a text message to every LTE-enabled cellphone within range of a tower in the event of emergency.

"When those do come through, they will have instructions associated with them, so please take time to look at those instructions and make sure you follow what the alert is talking about," said Henry.

"It's the perfect time to talk through your plans as a family."

More info can be found on the city's website.

With files from Andrew Brown