Emergency Preparedness

Fire Equipment hung up

 Emergency Preparedness

All municipalities, large or small, are vulnerable to major community emergencies such as tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and power outages. When an emergency of this scale occurs, local municipalities are usually the first level of government to respond. However, municipalities are not alone in emergency response. Being prepared, as an individual citizen, and knowing what to do and what to expect will help you and your family to cope until help arrives, should an emergency or disaster affect your community.

Emergency Management:

The Municipality of Leamington has appointed Deputy Fire Chief Mike Ciacelli as the Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC), along with an alternate, to assist the Municipality’s Emergency Management Program Committee with the development, implementation and maintenance of emergency management programs in the Municipality. In the event of a local emergency, Leamington’s Emergency Response Plan will be implemented by a team of trained individuals drawn from all sectors of the Municipality. If you would like to request an electronic copy of the Emergency Response Plan please contact Leamington Fire Services. 

 Flooding
Flooding is a natural hazard in Ontario that can happen at any time of year.

Floods are typically caused by melting snow, ice jams, heavy spring rains and summer thunderstorms. Flash flooding is caused by violent rain storms or breaking dams, often occurring with little or no warning. They can damage property and injure or kill people.

For more information on flooding and your safety, visit:

Leamington Alerts:

Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for the Leamington Alert System. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, evacuation notices, gas leaks, police activity and more. 

Sign up for Emergency Alerts

Make A Plan:

In an emergency, your family may not be together, or you may be asked to evacuate your home. Thinking about what you would do in different situations and preparing a plan with every member of your family is the first step to being prepared.

Visit the Get Prepared and the Emergency Management Ontario websites for more information.

Flood Precautions

If you feel unsafe, do not wait to evacuate.  If you are instructed by emergency officials to evacuate, do so immediately.  

In any flooding or potential flooding event, the following actions should be taken:

Protecting your home

  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into your home.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Keep an adequate supply of food, candles and drinking water in case you are trapped inside your home.

When a flood is imminent:

  • Listen to designated radio/TV emergency alert systems for emergency instructions.
  • Secure/bring in outdoor furniture or other items that might float away and become a potential hazard.
  • Move valuable items and papers/documents to upper floors.

During a flood:

  • Seek higher ground. Do not wait for instructions.
  • Be aware of flash flood areas such as canals, streams, drainage channels.
  • Be ready to evacuate.
  • If instructed, turn off utilities at main switches and unplug appliances - do not touch electrical equipment if wet.
  • If you must leave your home, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a stick to test depth.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and seek an alternate route.

After a flood:

  • Stay away from flood water - do not attempt to swim, walk or drive through the area.
  • Be aware of areas where water has receded. Roadways may have weakened and could collapse.
  • Avoid downed power lines and muddy waters where power lines may have fallen.
  • Do not drink tap water until advised by the Health Unit that the water is safe to drink.
  • Once flood waters have receded you must not live in your home until the water supply has been declared safe for use, all flood-contaminated rooms have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, adequate toilet facilities are available, all electrical appliances and heating/cooling systems have been inspected, food, utensils and dishes have been examined, cleaned or disposed of, and floor drains and sumps have been cleaned and disinfected.

The Municipality annually meets the requirements of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. A copy of the official Municipal Emergency Response Plan, may be obtained by request.

For more information regarding emergency preparedness, please visit the County of Essex Emergency Management website.

 Thunderstorms
 

Storms develop quickly and can occur with little to no warning. Heavy winds and lightning caused by storms can cause extended power outages, uprooted trees, landslides, and downed or broken utility lines. Furthermore, heavy rains can cause flash floods.

 

During the storm:

  • Keep an eye on the sky.  At the first sign of severe weather (darkening skies, lightening, increased wind), tune in to radio or TV for the latest weather information.
  • Avoid handling metal, electrical equipment, telephones, bathtubs, water faucets and sinks, because electric current from lightening can travel through wires and pipes.
  • If you are outside, take cover in a stable facility.
  • Avoid the following:
    • Natural lightning rods such as a tall isolated tree in an open area
    • Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
    • Anything metal (tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles
  • Observe the 30/30 lightning safety rule:  Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder.  Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Avoid walking through water that has seeped in your home - it may contain hazardous materials.
  • If you are asked to evacuate your home, disconnect all electrical appliances.

 

After the storm:

  • Assess your immediate environment.
  • Report fallen trees, flooded streets or damaged public utilities to proper department.
  • Stay tuned to local weather stations for updated information.

 

 Tornadoes
 

The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 400 kilometres per hour or more.  Damage paths can be in excess of a kilometre wide and 80 kilometres long.  When a tornado is coming, you only have a short amount of time to make decisions, so be prepared.

What Should I Do Before a Tornado?

  • Make sure that you review your Family Emergency Plan with your family and that everyone knows what they should do.
  • Make sure that your Emergency Survival Kit is fully stocked and that your family knows where it is. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for several days, in the event of widespread power outages or disruption of public utilities.
  • Establish a safe zone in your home and place of work (preferably in the basement or in a small interior room or hallway) and make sure that everyone knows where to go.
  • Have an AM/FM Radio in your house that everyone knows how to use. Make sure that your radio is battery-operable and that you have a fresh supply of batteries on hand.
  • Monitor weather forecasts before you go on a trip or spend an extended period of time outdoors.
  • Learn tornado warning signs. Although tornadoes vary greatly in their appearance and can offer little or no warning, it can be helpful to be aware of signs that a tornado could be imminent:
    • A dark, often greenish sky.
    • A wall cloud, particularly if it is rotating.
    • Large hail. Although not always, storms that produce tornadoes frequently produce large hail as well.
    • A loud roar, similar to the sound of a freight train.
    • Tornadoes may occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm and be quite visible. They may also be embedded in rain and not be visible at all.

What Should I Do During a Tornado Watch?

  • Listen to your local radio or television stations for updated information.
  • Be alert to rapidly-changing weather conditions. Watch for signs of a possible tornado.
  • Know where your family members are. Use this opportunity to review your Family Emergency Plan. Even if a tornado does not strike, there is still a likelihood of severe weather conditions.  
    During a Tornado
  • Listen to your local radio or television stations for updated information. If the electricity should go out, you will still be able to receive emergency information on a battery-operated device.
  • If you're at home, go to your pre-identified safe zone to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. If possible, seek shelter under a piece of large, sturdy furniture, such as a large table or workbench to protect yourself from falling debris or flying objects. Stay away from windows. Do NOT open them.
  • If a basement is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.  Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Do not open windows:  use the time to seek shelter.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • Remain in your safe zone or shelter until you have received an all-clear signal from your radio.
  • If you're not in your home, seek shelter in the basement or an interior room of a nearby, sturdy building. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately. If no shelter is available, lie flat in a low spot with your arms and hands protecting your head. Contrary to popular belief, seeking shelter underneath a highway or railroad overpass does not provide any measurable safety.
  • Be aware of flying debris, as it causes the most injuries and fatalities during a tornado.
  • Mobile homes offer little protection from tornadoes.   You should leave a mobile home and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building or storm shelter.

What Should I Do After a Tornado?

  • Continue listening to your local radio or television stations for updated information.
  • Review your Family Emergency Plan and follow through with your communications plan. If all of your family members are not present, report to your family's pre-designated meeting point, unless emergency officials direct otherwise.
  • Assess any damage to your home or immediate surroundings. Be aware of any potential hazards (ruptured gas lines, structural damage to your home, downed electrical lines, localized flooding, etc.) Immediately report any injuries or hazards via 911. Advise your family and neighbours as well.
  • Help injured or trapped persons. Call 911. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger. Never enter any building that appears to have suffered significant structural damage, or that poses any other hazards.
  • Do not enter any disaster area. Your presence there will simply add to the confusion and may hamper emergency response efforts. A public message will be sent in the event that volunteers are needed.
  • Only use the telephone for emergency calls. Once you have notified your pre-identified emergency contact person that you are okay, let them notify other family or loved ones. Telephones are frequently overwhelmed in a disaster situation and need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.

 

 Extreme Heat

Hot weather is uncomfortable but usually does not result in heat related illness, while periods of extreme heat are proven to affect the health of residents.  Humidex readings below 40° C can cause discomfort but do not usually result in heat related illnesses.  When conditions exceed this, an Extreme Heat Alert may be declared by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

 

In extreme heat:

  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.
  • Consume plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids. Water, diluted juices and electrolyte solutions are best. Stay away from carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • If you are on a fluid-restricted diet or taking diuretics, consult your doctor.
  • Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.
  • Keep rooms well ventilated with air conditioners and/or fans. Keep your windows open if you don't have a fan or air conditioning.
  • Cool down with periodic cool baths or showers.
  • Take advantage of air-conditioned city recreation facilities, public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls.
  • Never leave children, the elderly, or those who require special care during periods of intense summer heat.
  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbours during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with special needs or living alone.
  • Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbours, or relatives periodically throughout the day.
  • Seek help if you feel symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
 
 Winter Storms
 

Winter storms can be treacherous and damaging if you are unprepared. They can disrupt power supply and transportation and create home and personal safety issues.

 

Winter storm tips:

  • Make sure your emergency survival kit is stocked and winter storm ready.
  • Have a week's supply of food on-hand.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Keep a water supply.  Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes break.  In case this happens, make sure you have bottled water on hand.
  • Listen to radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
  • Buy rock salt to melt ice on walkways and sand to improve traction.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Keep emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove, kerosene heater, or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room of your house warm enough to be liveable.
  • If you have a fireplace, store a supply of firewood.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply. Insulate walls and attics; caulk and weather strip doors and windows.  Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
  • Do not overexert yourself or work outside for extended periods of time.
  • Limit time outside. When outside, watch for signs of frostbite (loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities) and hypothermia (uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion).  If you detect signs of hypothermia in somebody, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the centre of the body first, and give the person warm, non-alcoholic beverages.  If either frostbite or hypothermia are identified, get medical help as soon as possible.
 Extreme Cold

Extreme cold events occur when winter temperatures drop significantly below average for that time of the year. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. To keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.

 

During the colder months of the year, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit issues Extreme Cold Advisories when winter temperatures become dangerous.  Advisories will be posted along with precautionary information at the Health Unit Website.

 

Extreme Cold Safety Tips:

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves
  • Wear water-repellent clothing
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs
  • Wear a hat
  • Make sure small children, infants and the elderly stay warm. They are much more vulnerable to the cold weather.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Where possible, try and keep one room in your home heated to 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit).
  • Eat high energy foods and drink warm beverages.
  • Beware of over-exertion; shovelling snow or pushing disabled cars can be very demanding, and should only be done by individuals in good health. 

Contact(s)

© 2019 The Municipality of Leamington 111 Erie Street North, Leamington, Ontario N8H 2Z9

Phone: 519-326-5761
Fax: 519-326-2481
Email: General Information

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