Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Week - May 5-11, 2024

Everyone has a role to play in an emergency. Emergency Preparedness Week is an opportunity to take action to ensure you are prepared to protect yourself, your family, and your community during an emergency. This year, the theme is “Be Prepared. Know Your Risks” which is intended to encourage Canadians to take action to become better prepared for the range of emergencies they could face in their region. All municipalities are required to have an Emergency Response Plan which outlines how they will respond to emergencies within their jurisdiction. For your local Emergency Response Plan, please check your municipality’s website.

Things You Can Do to Prepare for an Emergency

In case of an emergency, it is important you and your household are self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Your Kit should be easy to carry and stored in a location known by all members of your household. Already have a Kit? Make sure to check it at least twice a year to replace items which may have expired, such as food, water, and batteries, or to reflect any life changes, such as adding or removing medications and baby or pet supplies.

Your family should have an emergency plan and know what to do in case of an emergency. Your family may not be together when an emergency occurs. Plan how to meet or how to contact one another. Discuss what you would do in different situations.

Learn about risks and hazards in your area that can trigger emergencies such as flooding, chemical spill, infectious disease outbreaks, or weather-related events. Inquire at workplaces, schools, daycare centres and long-term homes that may impact yourself or a family member about their emergency, evacuation, and communications plans. Please visit www.GetPrepared.ca for more information about building a 72-hour emergency kit, making a plan for your household and staying informed during an emergency.


Emergencies can and do happen without warning. The Town of Prescott has a community Emergency Plan in place for the coordination and implementation of all required services in the event of a natural or man-made emergency. 

What is an emergency?

A declared emergency or impending situation constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property that can be:

  • caused by the forces of nature
  • disease or other health risk
  • an accident
  • an act whether intentional or otherwise

What are the Town of Prescott’s responsibilities?

Within the first 72 hours, the municipality shall attend to and protect all municipal owned infrastructure and assets (roads, overpasses, buildings and water and sewer).

This could take up to 72 hours; therefore, individuals, families, and/or businesses are asked to prepare an Emergency Kit while the municipality attends to the emergency.

Being Prepared for an Emergency

Before an emergency happens, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place for your household. Use the following three steps to ensure your family is prepared for an emergency:

Step 1 – Make a Plan

Step 2 – Build a 72-hour Kit

Step 3 – Be Informed

Create your personal emergency plan:  Emergency Preparedness Guide

Survival Kits and Checklists

Emergency Management Ontario suggests that you have on hand a kit containing the items below. You should have one kit for each member of your household.

Your kit should contain:

  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Radio and batteries or crank radio
  • Spare Batteries (for radio or flashlight)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Candles and matches/lighter
  • Extra Car Keys and Cash
  • Important Papers (identification)
  • Food and Bottled Water
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Toilet paper and other personal items
  • Medication
  • Backpack/duffle bag (to hold all of the emergency survival items)
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • Playing cards, games

For more information on the 72 Hour Survival Kit, visit the website of Emergency Management Ontario at https://www.ontario.ca/page/emergency-management

Whether in your home or on the road, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. The following list of items should be kept in your car:

  • Shovel
  • Sand, salt or kitty litter
  • Traction mats
  • Tow chain
  • Compass
  • Cloth or roll of paper towels
  • Warning light or road flares
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Emergency food pack
  • Axe or hatchet
  • Booster cables
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Road maps
  • Matches and a “survival” candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
  • Fire extinguisher (not water based)
  • Methyl hydrate (for fuel line and windshield de-icing)
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Blanket (special “survival” blankets are best)

Remember – In an emergency people come first. However, it never hurts to be prepared. When putting together 72 Hour Kits for yourself and the other members of your household, don’t forget to provide for your pets. The following items can be set aside for care of your pets during an emergency:

  • Food and Water
  • Spare Dishes for Food and Water
  • Disposable litter box, litter and scoop
  • Leash and collar (and possibly a tie-out rope)
  • Pet Carrier
  • Blanket or Towel
  • Plastic bags (for scooping)

Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) has outlined some basic procedures for various types of disasters/emergencies.


What to do during an earthquake depends largely on where you are during the quake.

If You Are Inside
EMO advises you to stay inside, away from windows. If possible move yourself under a heavy desk or table and hang on. If this isn’t possible, they advise you to flatten yourself against an interior wall and protect your head and neck.

If You Are Outside
The EMO suggests you are to move away from buildings or structures and into an open area. Stay away from power lines and downed electrical wires.

If You Are In A Car
Stop the car and stay in it. During an earthquake avoid bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings or anything that can fall onto your car.

During a tornado your reaction will be determined by your surroundings:

If You Are Inside
Go to the basement right away. In areas where there are no basements, lie flat (or crouch) under heavy furniture in a small inner room or stairwell. Stay away from windows.

If You Are Outside
If you have no shelter, lie down in a ditch or ravine and protect your head and neck.

If You Are In Your Car
Leave your car and move away from it. Your car could be blown about and may roll over you. Once you have moved away from the car, follow the directions above.

Severe Lightning Storms
The EMO advises that you follow these instructions during a severe lightning storm:

If You Are Inside
Stay inside away from windows, doors, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks or electrical charge conductors. The EMO recommends unplugging TVs, radios, toasters and other electrical appliances. Do not use the telephone or other electrical equipment.

If You Are Outside
Find shelter wherever possible; the EMO recommends seeking out a building, cave or depressed area. If you are unable to find shelter, crouch down low with your feet close together and your head down. Do not lie flat – this will increase the risk of being electrocuted. Keep away from telephone and power lines, fences, trees and hilltops. Stay off bicycles, motorcycles and tractors.

If You Are In Your Car
Stop your car and stay inside. Don’t stop the car near power lines or trees which could fall.

During a flood, Emergency Management Ontario suggests that you take the following actions to minimize the damage to your home:

  • Turn off basement furnaces
  • Turn off outside gas valve
  • Shut off the electricity – if the area around the fuse box is wet, stand on a dry board and use a dry wooded stick to shut off the power.
  • Never try to cross a flooded area, whether you are on foot or in a car – the fast moving water could sweep you and your car away. Flood waters can cause your car to stall – if this happens, leave your car and get yourself and passengers to safety on foot.

Fire Safety Tips During Power Failures
When your power is out, you may be introducing potential hazards to your home. Please review the following tips and take extra precautions to ensure that everyone stays safe. If you have any questions, contact your Fire Department at 613-925-2206.

Candle Caution
Use flashlights whenever possible. If you must use candles, take extreme care.

  • Candles should be placed in secure candleholders, protected by a glass chimney.
  • Keep candles away from any combustible materials.
  • Place candles out of reach of children or pets.
  • Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Avoid using candles in bedrooms and never leave candles unattended.

Matches and Lighters
Keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Shut your Stove Off
Ensure that all elements and ovens are OFF and that nothing has been left on top of the stove.

Electrical Generators

  • Portable generators should be carefully placed outside to ensure that fumes do not enter the home. Install a battery powered CO detector in your home.
  • Generators and hot exhaust gases should be kept away from combustibles.
  • Store fuel for the generator outside the home. Keep the fuel in an approved container a safe distance away from your home and generator.
  • Refuel the generator only after shutting it down and letting it cool. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding use.

Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms electrically connected to your home’s AC power supply will not work when the power is out unless they have battery back-ups. Find out what type of alarms you have in your home and ensure you are protected by battery operated smoke alarms in the event of a power failure. Test all smoke alarms now. Plan Your Escape

Ensure everyone in the home knows what to do in the event of fire. Who is going to look after the children or older adults? Where do you want everyone to meet outside the home? Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home. Everyone should have at least one phone (not cordless) that works during a power failure.

If You Have To Evacuate
If you are asked to evacuate your home you will be instructed as to the appropriate emergency shelter location. Emergency Management Ontario has the following tips for those who are asked to leave their homes:

  • Leave immediately
  • Kits – Take your emergency survival kit with you
  • Shut it Off – Shut off water, gas and electricity if you are instructed to do so by officials
  • Pets – Make arrangements for pets – don’t forget their survival kits
  • Dress for the Weather – Wear clothes and shoes appropriate to conditions
  • Lock the house
  • Don’t Take Shortcuts – Follow the routes specified by the officials. Don’t take shortcuts – this could lead you to a blocked or hazardous area
  • Leave a Note – Leave a note for others telling them when you left and where you went
  • Register Yourself At the Shelter – If you are evacuated, sign up with the registration center so you can be contacted or reunited with others you care about

Prolonged Winter Evacuations 
If you must evacuate your home for a prolonged period during a winter power failure, drain the water from the plumbing system. Starting at the top of the house open all taps and flush toilets several times and open the drain valve in the basement. Drain your hot water tank by attaching a hose to the tank drain valve and running it to the basement floor drain (if you drain a gas-fired water tank, the pilot light should be turned off – the local gas supplier should be called to re-light it). Unhook washing machine hoses and drain.

Resource Links

Town of Prescott
360 Dibble Street West
Prescott, ON
K0E 1T0
Phone: 613-925-2206
Fax: 613-925-4777
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