Emergency Preparedness



Disasters and emergencies are unpredictable.

They can strike anywhere at any time. Often they occur with very little warning. Although the likelihood that one will happen in the Town of Barrhead is low, we are susceptible to extreme weather in both summer and winter.  This includes heavy rain, flooding, hail, intense lighting, tornadoes, extreme low temperatures, heavy snowfall, and freezing rain.

As a major transportation corridor, hazardous material incidents along our highways and major transportation accidents can pose serious threats. Power disruptions and infectious disease outbreaks can also have an impact. There are several examples of communities experiencing events that pose significant threats to lives, health, and property.

Emergencies can affect large numbers of people and produce substantial damage to property. They can be the result of serious accidents, forces of nature, technological failures, disease outbreaks, or even be the result of intentional acts. Therefore, it's important to keep in mind that as disaster can strike at any time, it's imperative that you are prepared for when it does.


There are four steps you can take to help you and your family prepare for an emergency.

Each step and how you can get prepared for an emergency is explained in the easy-to-follow drop down list below.

Knowing the risks and hazards can help you and your loved ones prepare for the unexpected.

Emergencies affect us all differently and help is not always available as we expect it to be. What steps can you take to ensure your needs are met when it matters most?

Know the risks and hazards to prepare for the unexpected. The government of Alberta has provided excellent resources for information provided below including risks that can affect us in the Town of Barrhead.  These include:

Other potential hazards in our community include:

Major accidentsHazardous materials incidents, explosions, transportation accidents, water contamination
Technological failuresExtended power failures, network interruptions, phone system failures
Human-caused incidentsArson, crime, civil unrest

Emergencies can strike with very little warning, leaving you with no time to make plans about where to go and what to do.

Challenges you might face in an emergency:

  • You might not have the opportunity to gather needed resources
  • Family members may be in different locations when the event occurs
  • Communication networks can break down
  • Electricity, water or gas service to your home may be disrupted
  • Roads could be blocked or closed
  • Regular sources of food, water, and gasoline might be unavailable.

Residents have a key role to play in responding to emergencies. Make plans to take care of yourself and the members of your household for at least 72 hours. That means planning for clothing, food, and water that can sustain you and your family for three (3) days/seventy-two (72) hours.

Being prepared ahead of time will help you and your family cope with an emergency more effectively and enable you to make a faster recovery once the emergency is over.

Emergencies can be particularly stressful for children, seniors and individuals with disabilities or special needs. They may feel especially vulnerable if they rely on caregivers for assistance but are separated from them when the incident occurs. If your household includes a person who requires extra help, or has special needs, be sure to include provisions for them in your plan.


Before an emergency occurs.

  • Create a home escape plan
  • Record your emergency contact information
  • Identify a meeting place away from your home
  • Choose an out-of-area contact person
  • Copy and protect important documents
  • Take an inventory of household possessions
  • Prepare an evacuation route from your neighbourhood
  • Make a plan for your pets


Make a plan to be able to leave your home quickly and safely in the event of a sudden emergency.

Draw a floor plan of your home on the page linked in the image to the right of this text. Identify two ways you can exit from each room. Draw arrows on your diagram to show where these emergency exists are located. Use a different colour ink to make the arrows stand out.

Consider buying a collapsible emergency ladder if you might need to exit from an upper floor window or balcony. If you live in a multi-unit building, do not use elevators in an emergency. Use the stairs only.

In an emergency, decide on a safe meeting place away from your home where everyone will go.

Ensure that everyone in your family knows where the meeting place is and practice your home escape plan together.

Use the template provided in the image to the right or click here download the template. Identify two (2) ways to exit from each room and mark each with an arrow.

It is important to note the following information and, if possible, plat it on your floor plan:

  • Fire Extinguisher location(s):
  • Electrical Panel location:
  • Natural Gas Shut Off Valve location:
  • Water Shut Off Valve location:
  • Floor Drain location(s):

Everyone should know where to find the fire extinguisher. Older children and adults should know how to turn off your home's water, electricity and gas if directed to do so by officials.


Decide on an out-of-area emergency contact person. This person should live far enough away that they will not likely be affected if a disaster occurs in your area. Arrange for each family member to call, email, or text this relative or friend if you are separated from your family in an emergency. This person can co-ordinate information about where family members are and help you to reunite with them. You can also use this contact to provide information to other relatives and friends to let them know that you are safe.

Emergency Contact Information

In Barrhead Family/Friend Name:Out-of-area Family/Friend Name:
Work phone:Work phone:
Mobile phone:Mobile phone:


Make copies of all important documents. For example:

  • Birth & Marriage certificates
  • Health cards
  • Prescriptions
  • Drivers licences
  • Banking & investment information
  • Wills
  • Passports
  • Land deeds
  • Vehicle registration

Find recent photographs of each family member and include them with your sets of copies. Make backup copies of important electronic files and scanned documents as well. Sotre them on a CD, DVD, or USB drive.

Keep one set of all backup copies in your emergency preparedness kit and store another set in a safe place away from home. These files contain sensitive information so store them in a safe place. You might choose to store them in a safety deposit box or with trusted family or friends who live out of town.


Compile an inventory of your household possessions. For each item, include a description, serial numbers, approximate value and original purchase receipts if possible. Photographs are an excellent way to keep track of your home's contents, especially unique items such as antiques and jewelry.

When your inventory is complete, it is a good idea to make sure you have adequate insurance for your property and possessions. Check that you are covered for the types of emergencies that might occur in your area.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has valuable information to help you prepare in advance of an incident. Check out their website at ibc.ca or call 1-800-377-6378.


In some emergencies, such as floods, fires, or hazardous materials incidents, it may be necessary for you to evacuate from your home and neighbourhood. Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they believe you are in significant danger.

If you are directed to evacuate, take your emergency kit with you. Carefully follow the instructions given by emergency authorities. Stick to the evacuation route you have been told to follow and proceed to a reception centre or evacuation shelter. When you arrive, be sure to register with the reception centre staff. Do not attempt to enter or return to an area that has been evacuated.

Make arrangements ahead of time with relatives or friends who would be willing to provide you with temporary lodging during an evacuation. Choose one location that is not too far from your home where you could go in the event of a small, localized evacuation. Choose another that is farther away in case there is a major incident that requires the widespread evacuation of a larger area.

Place to Stay in the Event of an Evacuation

Name:Two travel routes to this location:
Home Phone:
Work Phone:
Mobile Phone:

In an evacuation, once you have taken care of yourself and your family, check to see if there are neighbours who you can assist. Discuss emergency plans with neighbours ahead of time.


If you have pets, take as many precautions as possible to ensure they are safe during an emergency. As a general rule, pets are not allowed inside shelters or hotels (with the exception of service animals) due to health regulations. Think about family, friends, or kennels that would take care of your pet in an emergency.

Bring your pet inside at the first indication of an emergency. DO not lock your pet in a basement. If you are required to evacuate, when possible, take your pet with you. However, if you are unable to do so, then provide several feed bowls of water and food and notify animal services after the first 24 hours.

Prepare a basic 72 hour pet emergency kit along with a separate pet profile for each of your pets.

Make preparations before an emergency to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. This allows emergency workers to focus on people who require urgent assistance.

Assemble an emergency kit that contains items to help you cope during the first 72 hours of an emergency. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Store the items in backpacks, duffel bags or luggage so you can easily take the kit with you in case you need to evacuate. Keep it in a cool, dry area of your home. Ensure that every household member knows where the emergency kit is located. The key is to make sure your kit is easy to find, even in the dark. 

Include special items that may be required for individuals with disabilities or special needs. The Government of Canada has produced an excellent guide on emergency preparedness for individuals with disabilities and special needs. The guide is available on their web site getprepared.gc.ca

Families with infants and toddlers also have additional needs. Remember to include baby food, formula, bottles or sippy cups, diapers, baby wipes, toys, crayons, paper and other items as required.

Check your kit at least twice each year. A good time to inspect it is when you are changing your clocks. Check that all items are in working order and use your checklist to ensure that your kit is still complete. Replace food, water, and batteries in your kit at this time.


  • Water – four litres per person per day † 
  • Non-perishable food † Manual can opener †
  • First aid kit †
  • Prescription medications †
  • Flashlight and batteries †
  • Radio and batteries or crank radio †
  • Candles and matches or a lighter †
  • Basic analog telephone †
  • Warm clothing and footwear †
  • Blanket or sleeping bag for each person †
  • Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products and other personal care supplies
  • Plastic garbage bags † 
  • Soap, shampoo and gel hand sanitizer † 
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste † 
  • Whistle to attract attention † 
  • Spare batteries for flashlights and radio † 
  • Spare house and car keys † 
  • Money - include small bills and change † 
  • A copy of your emergency plan † 
  • Emergency contact information † 
  • Copies of important documents † 
  • Recent photos of each family member † 
  • Playing cards, games or small toys † 
  • Infant supplies and diapers if needed

Consider the Following

  • Water (Four litres per person per day)
    • Two litres for drinking
    • Two litres for washing, hygiene, and food preparation
  • Water treatment methods include water purification tablets, filters or bleach.
  • For prescription medications, include a two week supply and copies of prescriptions
  • Keep some cash on hand - debit and credit cards may not work in an emergency.

Recommended Additional Items

  • Small camping stove and fuel for cooking outside † 
  • Utility knife †
  • Duct tape †
  • Basic toolkit †
  • Work gloves †
  • Dust masks
  • Tarps or plastic sheeting † 
  • Two or three pots or pans †
  • Disposable dishes, cups, and cutlery †
  • Disposable razors and shaving cream †
  • Toys and games for children if needed


Purchase a basic first aid kit or assemble one on your own and ensure that it has adequate supplies for the number of people in your home. 

A Basic Family Kit

  • Pressure bandages † 
  • Gauze pads - 2x2 and 4x4 †
  • Wrapped antiseptic towelettes †
  • Abdominal pads †
  • Adhesive tape †
  • Gauze rolls †
  • Large fabric fingertip dressings †
  • Triangular bandages
  • Assorted adhesive bandages † 
  • Safety pins †
  • Instant cold pack †
  • Scissors †
  • Tweezers †
  • First aid gloves (non-latex) †
  • One thermal blanket †
  • First Aid manual

Prescription Medication

Ask your pharmacist about the storage requirements of your prescription drugs. If possible, purchase an extra two week supply and rotate them each time you refill. Don’t forget insulin, inhalers and epinephrine injections (EpiPen) if you use them. 

Include some non-prescription medications in your first aid kit such as:

  • A pain reliever (e.g. acetaminophen)
  • An anti-inflammatory (e.g. ibuprofen)
  • An antihistamine for allergy relief
  • A topical antibiotic cream for cuts and abrasions
  • Skin moisturizer
  • An anti-diarrhea medication (e.g. Imodium) 
  • Antacid tablets



Choose foods which:

  • Do not require refrigeration
  • Have a long shelf life
  • Are ready to eat or require little preparation
  • Are calorie and nutrient rich
  • Meet any unique dietary needs of family members 

Suggested Foods

  • Canned fruits, vegetables, ready-to-eat soups
  • Energy rich peanut butter, granola bars, dry pasta sauces, dried fruit, nuts
  • Canned juice or juice boxes • Instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate
  • Energy bars, meal replacement drinks
  • Spices, sauces, condiments and sugar to improve the taste of the food
  • Foods which will not increase thirst



  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Candle in a deep can and matches †
  • Extra clothing and shoes †
  • First aid kit †
  • Emergency food supply (e.g. energy bars) †
  • Shovel
  • Booster cables † 
  • Fire extinguisher (class ABC) †
  • Emergency flares †
  • Whistle †
  • Spare fuel container †
  • Road maps †
  • Emergency contact numbers (relatives, work and roadside assistance)


  • Food, water, bowls, paper towel, can opener † 
  • Blanket and a small toy †
  • Leash †
  • Cat litter (if required) and plastic bags †
  • Pet carrier for transportation †
  • Current photo of your pet in case your pet gets lost
  • Up-to-date ID tag with your contact number † 
  • Copy of pet licence †
  • Muzzle (if required) †
  • Medications and records (including vaccinations) †
  • Record details of feeding schedules, medical or behavioral problems in case you must board your pets


The key to responding effectively in an emergency is to be prepared, remain calm, use common sense and follow the directions issued by emergency authorities.

In an emergency you will be provided with information through the media about the nature of the emergency, status of the situation and instructions about what to do. Monitor radio and television broadcasts and social media channels (Town Facebook and Twitter channels) for emergency information and notifications. Further information can be accessed through municipal, provincial and federal alerting channels.