Minister's Statements - EP Week 2015

Minister’s Statements


Statement by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on Emergency Preparedness Week

May 4, 2015

Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, released the following statement on the 20th anniverary of Emergency Preparedness Week:

“May 3-9, 2015, marks the 20th Anniversary of Emergency Preparedness Week in Ontario.

This year’s theme — Know the Risks, Reduce them Together — reminds us that being prepared and developing a plan to look out for family, neighbours, and those most vulnerable, are keys to staying safe.

Ontario has faced a number of emergencies in the past — ice storms, floods, forest fires and power outages.

And there is no doubt we will face more emergencies in the future as the effects of climate change bring more severe and more frequent storms.

I was pleased to join Ontario’s Fire Marshall and other members from the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management (OFMEM) to kick off Emergency Preparedness Week and unveil the new Provincial Emergency Operations Centre at Downsview.

This state-of-the-art facility will help better coordinate our response to any emergency of declaration of assistance from our municipalities. It is truly an impressive site.

While our government works every day to ensure our families and communities are safer, Emergency Preparedness Week, or EP Week, reminds us of the need to be prepared and of the value of each household having an emergency plan and emergency survival kit.

While everyone in Ontario is encouraged to take action to prepare themselves and their families, seniors and those with disabilities or special needs, can be especially vulnerable during an emergency.

This year, we are marking EP Week by highlighting the importance of preparedness for the most vulnerable Ontarians and those living in multi-dwelling buildings or condominiums.

 

This also applies to our fellow Ontarians who do not speak or understand English or French … they run the risk of becoming isolated during a disaster.

Experience has also shown that family members, neighbours and communities can be a great source of assistance to each other.

Seniors’ organizations and community groups that help those with special needs or disabilities can also play a role in fostering collective resilience and helping speed up recovery after a disaster.

Ontario’s fabric is closely woven with solidarity, resilience and caring for one another during a crisis.

That’s what defines us … and unites us in emergencies.

We can, and we must, all play a role in being prepared.

The first step for all of us is having an emergency plan — a plan that contains key information, such as where you would go in an evacuation, who you would contact if you needed help.

It should also have the critical medical information you would want at hand in an emergency.

Next is building an emergency survival kit with non-perishable food, water, and provisions to last three days.

It should also have supplies tailored to the unique situation of the people in your family: medicine or medical devices.

Everyone should also have additional items like clothes, blankets, and personal items at the ready in case you had to evacuate your home.

Family pets cannot be left behind! It’s critical to plan for them as well!

It is also vital that everyone in Ontario stay informed.

I encourage everyone to visit Ontario.ca/beprepared. There they will find resources to help them to become prepared and information on how to subscribe for emergency alerts, as well as signing up for Ontario emergency notifications so you get important information on threats impacting your area.

I also invite all Ontarians to join the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management in to sharing their preparedness stories, videos and pictures on social networks.

Finally, I invite Ontarians to use the hashtags #iamready, #weareready #EPweek or #ONready in their social conversations.

By encouraging and helping more Ontarians be prepared, we willincrease our safety and resilience in the face of an emergency andhelp more families stay safe.

This Emergency Preparedness Week, I encourage everyone to take steps to be prepared for emergencies.