No matter how hard we try to predict the earth’s weather, it still remains very mysterious. Man has spent thousands of years developing sophisticated technology to decipher weather patterns, but until today weather and meteorology is still an inaccurate science. All we can do is to plan and prepare for disasters of nature.
Climate Change and Natural Disasters
Over the past decade, we have seen the rise in the frequency and impact of natural calamities throughout the world. Severe rainstorms, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis are becoming more common in most parts of the globe. Canada is not immune to this trend.
Over the past five years, Canada has seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of hurricanes. Just recently, Hurricane Sandy hovered over Eastern Canada leaving injuries and deaths in Ontario as well as widespread damage to properties amounting to over $100 million. Similarly, the Ministry of Natural Resources has recorded around 1,611 forest fires throughout the 2012 ‘wildland’ fire season. This is comparably greater than the number of wildfires recorded during the previous year. Tornadoes and severe rainstorms have also brought enormous damage to property and homes in many parts of Canada.
Some experts attribute the rising number of natural disasters to climate change. With severe natural calamities occurring more frequently, Canadians must take steps to adapt to a very unpredictable weather.
Disaster Preparedness is Essential
Natural calamities can happen quickly and without any warning. If a severe hurricane confined your family at your house or a forest fire required evacuation of your family, would you know what to do? Disasters can cause disruption of electricity, water and communication lines of your home for days. Would you be able to feed and keep your family warm?
It is essential that all families know how to respond properly in case of disasters. While the government has its own contingency plans that aim to protect its citizens during these calamities, all Canadians are encouraged to learn about basic disaster preparedness and share the responsibility of ensuring their personal safety.
In order to prepare for a disaster, you have to consider these three things:
1. Know the disaster risks in your community.
Different types of natural calamities occur in specific regions of the country. For example, Quebec, New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario are commonly affected by severe ice storms; Southern Ontario, Southern Saskatchewan and South-eastern Quebec are often hit by tornadoes; and communities along major rivers are at risk for destructive flooding. Checkout with your local community or online the disaster risks that you have to prepare for.
2. Make an emergency action plan.
Develop an emergency preparedness plan which every member of your family must know. Designate places where the family will meet in case an evacuation occurs. Have a list of important emergency phone numbers and keep it in an accessible part of your home.
3. Have an emergency preparedness kit ready.
Your emergency preparedness kit must contain basic necessities such as food, water, warmth, personal protective equipment, communication device, and basic first aid supplies. Be ready to take care of your family and yourself for at least three days in a disaster, and at least 2 weeks in a health emergency. Emergency workers may take some time to reach and help everyone and they will prioritize the most vulnerable groups first.
To better prepare for disasters and reduce casualties, all Canadians are encouraged to attend disaster preparedness programs and first aid courses offered by workplace approved. These training programs empower the community to handle and respond well during natural disasters.