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Emergency Preparedness

What will you do if you get caught in an emergency? It takes planning to prepare for an emergency so you can prevent, respond to, and recover from emergencies that may put your life at risk.

The Health Unit recommends that everyone follow these three basic steps to prepare for emergency situations: know the risks, make a plan, and get an emergency kit.

See Your Emergency Preparedness Guide for vital information on how to get prepared for emergency situations.

Each emergency comes with a variety of hazards that can affect the safety of the food you eat. With power outages affecting refrigeration or floods directly contaminating your food, the response to each situation can be different. Learn how to respond during each emergency to ensure your food remains safe to eat.

Be Prepared in an Emergency:  Food Safety

The impact of a stressful event can be immediate or delayed, and those affected directly or indirectly can feel a range of emotions and reactions. In the wake of stressful events our reactions can affect us physically or emotionally. It can affect our thinking.

It’s OK to NOT be OK

It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a stressful event. Everyone reacts differently, and your own feelings will change over time.

Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Self-care during a stressful event

  • Practice healthy coping habits such as healthy eating, getting adequate sleep and avoiding alcohol or other drugs, etc.
  • Ask for help from your support system (e.g., family, friends, coworkers, or clergy)
  • Watch for common signs of stress
  • Listen to your feelings and give yourself time
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Reach out for support when needed

Reaching out for help

Sometimes we may need help from a health professional such as a family doctor, social worker, or nurse. Ask for help if you have:

  • Feelings of shock, numbness, or disbelief
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of extreme helplessness
  • You are not able to take care of yourself or your loved ones

Remember reaching out for help is a sign of strength and courage and is an important part of self-care.

Stressful events, such as flooding, require communities to come together.

Crisis Lines

If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, grief, worry, anger or suicide, contact a crisis line, 24/7:

Mental Health Crisis Line

Ages 16 or older


Child, Youth and Family Crisis Line and Crisis Chat

Ages 17 and under


Additional Resources

For additional information on mental health resources, please visit Mental Health.

Hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent you and others from getting sick from potentially harmful germs. Hand hygiene refers to the cleaning of your hands by either washing them with soap and water or applying alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR).

It is important to protect yourself and family from illness during an emergency situation, such as a flood. Natural disasters are known to bring devastation and can increase the risk of becoming ill due to harmful germs. Consistently practicing good hand hygiene is essential to reduce the spread of infection and preventing an emergency situation from becoming more complicated.

When to wash your hands

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before putting on your mask and before and after taking your mask off
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • Before and after changing contact lenses
  • After using the toilet
  • After helping with someone’s personal care (e.g., changing a diaper, assisting someone who has used the toilet, assisting someone with eating)
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After being in a public place or outdoors
  • After touching an animal, feeding an animal or picking up animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • After doing household cleaning (e.g., toilets)
  • After coming into contact with high-touch surfaces in public spaces (e.g., handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs)
  • After contact with items contaminated by floodwater or other debris during an emergency

Soap and clean water

If your tap water is not safe to use, wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected.

  • Wet hands under warm running water
  • Apply soap
  • Be sure to lather soap and rub palms, back of your hands, between fingers, wrists and fingernails for at least 15 seconds
  • Rinse hands under running water
  • Dry using a clean towel
  • Turn off tap with towel

Alcohol-based products

Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is a great way to clean your hands. ABHR must contain between 70-90% alcohol, which kills bacteria on your hands. If hands are visibly soiled, ABHR will not be effective. If you cannot clean your hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly soiled, first use a hand wipe to remove debris and then use ABHR.

How to use ABHR

  • Apply a quarter-sized amount of ABHR to the palm.
  • Rub your hands together. Make sure to rub palms, back of your hands, between fingers, wrists and fingernails for at least 15 seconds.
  • Continue to rub until they are dry.

Hand Hygiene Quick Tip

Applying a non-scented moisturizer to your hands daily will also help ensure your skin remains healthy and prevents chapping leading to optimal hand health!

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Pembroke Office

TEL: 613-732-3629 or 1-800-267-1097

Renfrew Office

TEL: 613-432-5853 or 1-800-465-5000

Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – noon and 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.