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Tuesday May 7th, 2013

Posted at 2:00pm

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According to recent polling by the Canadian Red Cross, nearly one in ten Canadians have been subject to an evacuation order due to a disaster. The Red Cross warns that disasters can strike at any time, and without any warning.

This week is Emergency Preparedness week, an annual awareness campaign to encourage all Canadians to be better prepared to deal with disasters and emergencies.

“We urge Canadians to know the risks and find out what disasters, whether natural or technological, could occur in your neighbourhood,” says Donna Girard, Advisor of disaster management, Canadian Red Cross. “Canadians have faced many emergency situations in the past, including floods, ice storms, power outages and water supply problems. Once you know the risks, you will be better prepared to ensure your family is safe in an emergency.”

Red Cross officials note that more than a quarter of Canadians who say they haven’t taken steps to prepare in the event of a disaster say it’s because they do not believe one will happen in their area. This is despite the fact that every province and territory in Canada experienced disasters last year.

The Canadian Red Cross reports that they responded to more than 2,300 separate disasters across the country, including everything from house fires to wildfires, floods, landslides, hurricanes and power outages.

“Canadians need to be aware that an emergency doesn’t necessarily mean something like Hurricane Sandy,” said Girard”. “For instance, just over 40 per cent of Canadians say they have experienced a loss of electricity for more than 72 hours. This is the most commonly reported disaster experienced by Canadians.”

In addition to knowing the risks, the Red Cross recommends Canadians make a plan, and build or buy an emergency preparedness kit. Canadians should be prepared to care for themselves and their families for a minimum of 72 hours in a disaster, or up to two weeks in a health emergency.

For more information on how to help you take care of yourself and your loved ones during an emergency, visit the Red Cross website here.

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