Disaster un-preparedness: Most Canadians don't have emergency kits
Icicles hang from a downed power line on a residential street in Toronto after a storm brought heavy ice rain, on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, October 28, 2015 10:43AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 28, 2015 3:39PM EDT
Most Canadians have made some preparations for when disaster strikes, but a new survey reveals that less than half have set aside supplies they could use to survive in an emergency.
The 2014 Survey of Emergency Preparedness and Resilience, released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, asked Canadians to report on measures they have taken to be prepared for “natural and human-induced” emergencies or disasters.
Respondents named winter storms and extended power outages as the natural disasters or human-caused hazards that are most likely to affect their community.
Other emergency events that were top of mind for Canadians:
- Outbreaks of serious or life-threatening diseases
- Industrial or transportation accidents
- Heat waves
- Contamination or shortage of food and water
While 98 per cent of respondents reported participating in some type of household emergency planning activity, such as creating a home escape plan, far fewer Canadians had prepared an emergency supply kit.
Only 47 per cent reported setting aside items such as water, food, medicine, flashlights or cash.
Other precautionary measures include:
- 58 per cent reported having a wind-up or battery-operated radio in their home
- 48 per cent had an alternate heat source
- 43 per cent had an alternate water source on hand
- 23 per cent possessed a back-up generator
The survey also revealed that, in the event of a natural or weather-related disaster, approximately one quarter of the population would first listen to radio broadcasts for information or help, while 20 per cent would watch the news on television or seek online news sources.
Fire safety a biggie
Fire safety was among the most commonly reported precautions taken by Canadians. According to the survey results:
- 98 per cent of Canadians lived in homes with a working smoke detector in 2014
- 66 per cent had a working fire extinguisher
- 60 per cent had a working carbon monoxide detector
Approximately 4 in 10 Canadians had all three fire safety devices.
Preparedness across provinces:
Ontarians and Albertans were the most likely to live in households equipped with all three fire safety measures, while New Brunswick and Quebec were the least likely to have all three.
Residents in Atlantic provinces were more likely to having alternative heat and water sources, wind-up or battery-operated radios and back-up generators. And, emergency planning was generally more prevalent in British Columbia.