Emergency Preparedness Week with Canadian Red Cross (+ Contest!)

I don’t blog here nearly enough about the amazing work I am doing with the Canadian Red Cross. You can read some of what I’m up to on their blog, but I really want to stand on a mountain and tell you about all of the groundbreaking work the Red Cross is doing in terms of using social media for emergency management and disaster response.

During Sandy, our team was helping the American Red Cross re-route services to areas in need that were only identified through social media. During recent ice storms and flooding in Ontario, disaster responders looked to the information we pulled in through social media to identify which services were needed in which areas. Throughout all of it, we’re there interacting with those affected by emergencies and disasters to let them know that we are there for them. It really gives me the warm fuzzies. Using social media for emergency management is something I never even imagined myself doing, and yet it’s incredibly fulfilling and empowering to be using social media in such an important way.

Not long after I started working as a social media consultant for the Canadian Red Cross, the organization released a survey on the use of social media in emergencies.

Some key findings: 

  • 64% of Canadians are using social media
  • 63% of Canadians think that emergency responders should be prepared to answer calls for help on social media
  • 1 in 3 think that help would arrive – within an hour!
  • While the majority of Canadians have experienced a disaster or emergency in their home or community, 66% of people are not prepared for one! 

May 5-11, 2013 is Emergency Preparedness Week!

Emergency Preparedness Week

Before I started working with Red Cross I wasn’t prepared. I figured that in an emergency there would always be someone to help me. The reality is that in most emergencies I’m probably one of the last ones to need help when needs are being assessed. I’m young and fairly healthy and don’t require any special medical attention (fingers crossed). It could take emergency responders more than 3 days to reach me! Do I have enough food, water, and basic first aid supplies for that amount of time? Do I have the right documentation and pet supplies if I need them in a hurry?

Now that I’m first aid trained, I’m also working on making sure I have a fully stocked emergency kit so that I’m prepared for any disasters or emergencies that could affect my community.

I want to make sure you’re prepared too! 

Do you know the risks for disaster in your home or neighbourhood? They could be anything from a house fire to severe storms that knock out power or flood your basement.

To win: 

Tweet at me or tag me on Facebook and show me (you can use words, photos, or videos) what you have done to prepare for a disaster. Remember to use the #beready hashtag!

– Comment on this blog post and tell me what the risks are in your community.

The prize: 

I’m giving away one of each of these weather radios:

ETON 170


ETON MicroLink FR 170 Weather Radio – AM/FM Weather Radio with USB cell phone charger that receives audio broadcasts issued by Environment Canada on weather warnings and alerts. Includes built-in LED flashlight and USB cell phone charger. Powered by solar panel and dynamo crank. (Retail value: $36.95)



ETON 370



ETON SolarLink FR 370 Weather Radio– enhanced weather radio that receives audio broadcasts from Environment Canada filtering only broadcasts that affect your area. Also includes an alarm clock. (Retail value: $67.95)





Contest closes Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Two winners will be chosen at random. Contest open to Canadian residents only. 

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  1. May 6, 2013 / 10:44 am

    Great contest Jamie! In storage with the rest of my stuff I have one of these beauts – http://www.amazon.com/Eton-FR200-Grundig-Emergency-Radio/dp/B000083CUA

    In Toronto, the most likely threats are ice/thunderstorms. But the biggest is the ever present threat to humanity as a whole – power outages.

    A lot of other things are very unlikely… flooding, tornados, earthquakes… natural disaster-wise we live in a pretty safe location. But those power outages… most people are very poorly prepared to handle anything longer than a day or two… In a severe power outage, we’re 3 days away from total anarchy. After those three days, people turn into animals… Which is why, generally, governments advise a 72 hour kit. It helps delay the 3 day chaos, and usually is enough time for hydro crews to repair the damaged grid.

    Though, quite frankly – it should be at minimum 7 days in my opinion. Especially with the fragility of our power grid.

  2. May 6, 2013 / 3:11 pm

    We keep several large containers of water set aside and refill them every couple of months with fresh water. Remeber that blackout? I filled every single container in my house with water right away and the bathtub too! Brampton went without water for 2 days…but I was okay – I could even flush my toilet by moving water from my bathtub into the reservoir of my toilet. It pays to be prepared! #BeReady

    • May 6, 2013 / 3:54 pm

      Smart. Water is definitely the most important aspect of preparedness! 🙂

  3. Lat Leger
    May 7, 2013 / 11:55 am

    In addition to the 72-hour or 7-day preparedness kits, everyone should also have a Grab-N-Go kit for quick evaluations. (A kit with important phone numbers, copies of important documents, cash in small denominations, snacks, etc.) We all worry about natural disasters, we forget, we also live in a city shared with railways, highways and factories. We should also consider chemical spills, gas leaks and explosions. Although, they may last only a few hours, some may last much longer.

  4. May 11, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    Tornadoes and flooding are not often, but can occur where I live. We always have lots of water in the house.