Anne Danielson stands behind a table in the RCMP detachment gazebo, watching the crowd at the Emergency Preparedness Week barbeque line up for hot dogs and hamburgers.
It’s been a busy week for Danielson. The emergency management co-ordinator for the City of Lloydminster has been organizing the festivities for this year’s Emergency Preparedness Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of how to properly anticipate and respond to crises.
At the barbecue, held on May 5, community members were welcome get up-close looks at emergency vehicles, talk with emergency and city staff and play an emergency quiz game with the chance to win prizes.
“It’s a good chance for us to remind people to make a plan,” Danielson said.
“Fortunately, emergencies don’t happen every day. But when they, do you’re going be able to recover a lot easier if you have a plan. And it’s really easy to do.”
Danielson says every household should have an emergency preparedness kit in case the home needs to be evacuated for a period of time. She recommends that people pack bottled water and non-perishable foodstuffs, as well as enough baby, pet and hygiene supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Battery-operated radios and flashlights are also emergency must-haves.
“We want people to tune into the radio if there’s an emergency so they can stay updated,” she said. “If there’s a power outage we want to make sure that they’ve got extra batteries, copies of important documents, a first aid kit and some petty cash. A lot of it is things people already have around the house, it’s just a matter of gathering them up into one kit and having something that you can easily grab to go out the door.”
On May 8 the city is hosting its first-ever emergency management conference for emergency management and safety professionals at the Wildrose Pavilion at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds. The keynote speaker is the emergency co-ordinator who responded to a fertilizer plant explosion in West Texas in 2013 which killed 15 people, injured over 160 and damaged or destroyed more than 150 buildings. There will also be a panel discussion with first responders taking questions from the audience.
“A lot of other neighbouring communities on both the Alberta side and the Saskatchewan side (are) sending representatives that have a roll in their own emergency plan,” Danielson said. “We’re really exciting about that because it’s a really good opportunity to network and build partnerships with our neighbours.”
An ongoing emergency preparedness initiative the city offers is its Emergency Alert program, in which residents can sign up to receive electronic updates from the city in times of distress. Danielson says the program is growing.
“We’re making an effort to constantly promote that program because the more people that sign up for that, the more effective it’s going to be,” Danielson said. “We want to make sure that our residents are getting timely information when they need it, so that’s one way that they can be informed and get those updates.”