The City of Chestermere wants residents to know that they are ready in the event of a local emergency.
As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, the city is hosting an open house at the Chestermere Fire Hall May 13 to show residents some of the ways the city is prepared to deal with emergencies and to teach people how to be prepared for an emergency themselves.
“For us, it’s really important to show the community that we’re prepared as a city,” said City of Chestermere Acting Director of Emergency Management Donelda Laing.
While the city is ready, Laing said that it is equally important for families to be prepared and have a 72-hour plan should they ever have to evacuate or be told to shelter in place.
“We…wanted to prepare citizens to be ready for an emergency,” she said.
“A big part of emergency preparedness week is, you as a citizen, what can you do to prepare your family, to prepare your home,” said Laing.
In an emergency it, Laing said that it is critical for people not to panic, something that can be easier said than done for people who don’t regularly face high stress situations every day.
Knowing what to do and having an emergency plan to follow can have a significant impact on whether a person is able to stay calm during an emergency.
“It’s a difficult situation when there is an emergency,” said Laing, “our hope is that we can give people some resources and some information to help them be prepared.”
Some of the ways the city will be promoting preparedness at the open house include helping families prepare a 72-hour emergency kit and giving residents a chance to meet members of the Chestermere Emergency Management Agency.
Residents will be able to come and get advice and questions, such as what should one pack in a grab-and-go bag, answered by experts at the open house.
“We have materials and resources for people to say what are important documents to gather, what are the things you need to take with you when you have to leave,” said Laing.
Her goal for emergency preparedness week is that people will act on what they learn and take steps to prepare themselves for an emergency.
“Our hope is that people will get a 72-hour kit ready,” she said, “we’ll give them all the resources to do that.”
Key items that should be packed include, a crank or battery powered flashlight and radio, water, and canned food. People who have pets also need to have food and water for their pet.
There will also be fun activities, tours of the fire hall, a kid’s firefighter competition and a fire fit demonstration at the open house.
“Just to get our younger residents involved…let them see a different side of the emergency service, let them get involved with the actual firefighter, being involved with some of the activities that a firefighter would typically do,” said Chestermere Fire Services (CFS) Chief Brian Pomrenke.
In the event of an emergency, Pomrenke recommends that once people are out of immediate danger that they keep an eye on the city’s social media platforms for accurate and up to date information.
“You’re getting the facts from the city…rather than relying on some of the other social media,” he said.
When an emergency occurs, the city will use its website and social media accounts to provide reports from the staff who are involved in managing the situation