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Emergency Preparedness

Should an emergency situation arise in our city, be it severe weather, a dangerous goods spill, a pandemic, or an airline crash, a range of agencies must pull together to provide a coordinated response. Saskatoon's Emergency Measures Organization Coordinator works with those agencies to ensure Saskatoon is ready to respond in the event of a major emergency or disaster.

It's very important that businesses and households develop their own emergency plans. Our disaster Home Preparedness Plan is full of tips for you and your family. 

Ensure that you, and those you care about are signed-up for the City of Saskatoon's free emergency notification service, notifynow .

Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergencies 9-1-1
Police 306-975-8300
Fire 306-975-3030
M.D. Ambulance 306-975-8800
RCMP (rural) 306-310-7267
Poison Control 306-655-1010
City Hospital 306-655-8000
St. Paul's Hospital 306-655-5000
Royal University Hospital 306-655-1000
SaskPower (24 hr) 306-310-2220
SaskEnergy (24 hr) 306-975-8500
Saskatoon Light & Power  306-975-2621
City Yards (road/sewer water emergencies) 306-975-2491
City of Saskatoon Emergency Measures 306-975-3210
SPCA 306-374-7387
Sask. Environment Spill Report Center 1-800-667-7525

 

Be Prepared For Winter

Winter is a fact of life in Saskatoon and when a blizzard hits, getting around can be very difficult, even dangerous. Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) urges you to winterize your family by planning how you will best manage a disruption in your routine during a blizzard. An effective plan includes what you will do before, during and after a blizzard; and covers all aspects of the normal daytime and evening routine/activities for each family member. Plan to take care of your family’s needs for a minimum of 72 hours during any emergency, including a blizzard.

Before a Blizzard

  • Check out local media for developing weather situations. It is best to anticipate a storm rather than be surprised by it.
  • Plan a safe place for each family member to go if they cannot make it home.
  • Plan a way to contact each other.
    • Include an alternate plan in case cell phone coverage is disrupted.
  • Plan to reunite your family.
    • Include an alternate plan in case you don’t have enough gas in your vehicle, it breaks down, or Transit service is disrupted.
  • Contact neighbors to see if you can work together to deal with potential problems associated with a blizzard i.e. power outage or transportation.
  • Have on hand at least a three-day supply of food, water and medical requirements.

During a Blizzard

  • Stay calm.
  • Avoid travel.
    • If you are safe where you are, stay where you are.
    • If travel is unavoidable make sure you have:
      • Enough fuel.
      • A vehicle emergency kit.
      • A winterized, reliable vehicle.
  • Check out local media for weather updates, road conditions and the level of civic services available.

After a Blizzard

  • Assess the damage to your property, if any.
  • Check out local media regularly for the level of civic services available.
    • If you must travel, plan your route accordingly. The first priority for City snow clearing is to ensure movement of traffic on the freeway and major streets, access to emergency locations and Saskatoon Transit DART routes.
    • Be prepared to move your vehicle if you live on a designated Snow Route street/street segment.
  • Exercise caution and care when shoveling snow, especially during very cold weather.
  • Re-evaluate your family’s Winterization Plan.

What To Do Before a Disaster

Have a Plan

  1. Identify a family meeting place - if any member of your family needs to evacuate your home in a hurry - they will need a place to go. Make sure everyone knows the place and the phone number.
  2. Decide on a system of communication - texting rather than phoning uses less bandwidth and puts less of a strain on the cellular communication system. In an emergency "text don't talk".
  3. Choose an out-of-province family contact - Choose someone in another province to be your "secondary" family contact. In the event of a disaster, call your family contact if you get separated from your family. Make sure everyone memorizes the person's name and telephone number.

Post Emergency Numbers

Keep emergency telephone numbers and addresses handy. If there is a major disaster, use the phone only if its absolutely necessary. Emergency crews will need all available lines.

Prepare An Emergency Survival Kit

Assemble supplies in an easy-to-carry container in case you have to evacuate. Think of any special needs someone in your family may have and include those items.

Have a Show and Tell

Teach members of your family where and how to shut off the water, electricity and gas supply. Make easy to read signs near the breaker panel, main gas valve and main water valve.

Learn About Other Community Emergency Plans

Your children's school and your work place may have their own emergency plans. Find out what they are and how they apply to you.

Watch or Listen to Local Media

Saskatoon radio and television stations have access to up-to-date weather related information. If you suspect inclement weather or other impending danger - your best bet is to tune to a local station and keep it on. You can also tune in to 91.7FM only in an emergency. It will be broadcasting emergency information, details, safety tips, and evacuation routes. In non-emergency times, this frequency is used by Tourism Saskatoon to broadcast tourist updates, but they will turn over the frequency in an emergency.

Sign up for NotifyNow

When an emergency happens, notifynow will let residents know what to do, where to go and what to expect during any potential emergency with a message sent directly to their phone, cell phone or email.

NotifyNow

What To Do During a Disaster

During a Tornado

If you are in a building, go to the basement. If there is no basement, crouch or lie flat (under heavy furniture) in an inner hallway, small inner room or stairwell away from windows. Stay away from large halls, arenas and shopping malls as their roofs could collapse. If you are caught outside and there is no shelter, lie down in a ditch or ravine, protecting your head. If you are driving, get out and away from your vehicle. It could be blown through the air or roll over on you. Lie down as above.

During a Severe Lightning Storm

If you are in a building, go to the basement. If there is no basement, crouch or lie flat (under heavy furniture) in an inner hallway, small inner room or stairwell away from windows. Stay away from large halls, arenas and shopping malls as their roofs could collapse. If you are caught outside and there is no shelter, lie down in a ditch or ravine, protecting your head. If you are driving, get out and away from your vehicle. It could be blown through the air or roll over on you. Lie down as above.

If you are in a building, stay inside. Stay away from windows, doors, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, showers, sinks or other electrical conductors. Unplug electrical appliances (e.g. TV's, stereos, computers, toasters, etc.). Don't use the phone or other electrical equipment. If you are outside, seek shelter in a building or low-lying area. If you are caught in the open, crouch down with your feet close together and your head down (in the "leap frog" position). Don't lie flat - by minimizing contact with the ground, you reduce the risk of being electrocuted by ground charge. Keep away from telephone and power lines, fences, trees and hilltops. Get off bicycles, motorcycles and tractors. If you are in a vehicle, stop and stay inside. Don't stop near trees or power lines that could fall.

During a Flood

Turn off basement furnaces and outside gas valve. Shut off electricity. If the area around the fuse box or circuit breaker is wet, stand on a dry wooden stick (such as a broom handle). Wear rubber boots or dry leather footwear and leather work gloves. Never try to cross a flood area on foot. The fast water could sweep you away. If you are in a vehicle, avoid driving through flood waters. Fast water could sweep your vehicle away. If you area caught in fast rising waters and your vehicle stalls, all occupants should exit as quickly as possible.

Pet Safety During an Emergency

The Following Steps Will Help Keep Pets Safe

  • Identify your pet. If you become separated from your pet during an emergency, their identification may be the only way to find them. Make sure each animal wears a collar and identification tag at all times.
  • Pet emergency kit
  • A sturdy crate or carrier
  • A strong leash or harness
  • ID tag and collar
  • Food and water for at least 72 hours (4L/day per average dog, 1L/day per average cat)
  • Bowls and can opener for food
  • Newspaper, paper towels, plastic bags, litter, and/or litter box
  • Special medications, dosage, and veterinarian's contact information
  • Pet file (including recent photos of the animal, your emergency numbers, contact information for friends who could house your pet, copies of any licenses, and vaccination records)
  • A pet first-aid kit
  • Blanket and toy

Plan for evacuations. The best way to protect your pet in an emergency is to bring it with you. Most evacuation shelters will only accept service animals. Make a list of where your pet can be taken in case you need to evacuate. This list can include:

  • Hotels that accept animals even during emergencies
  • Boarding centres and animal shelters
  • Animal clinics
  • Family members and friends

Include your pet in your family emergency plan exercises.

During an Emergency

  • Stay informed of developing emergencies so you can make good decisions as soon as possible.  Signing up for notifynow is a great way to stay informed.
  • Keep your pet inside during severe weather. Animals are very sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and often isolate themselves when scared. Never leave a pet outside or tethered during a storm.
  • Separate cats and dogs. Keep smaller pets such as hamsters away from larger animals. Stress can lead to unusual behaviour.
  • Keep newspaper inside for hygiene purposes and feed your pet wet food in order to reduce the amount of water it may need.
  • If ordered to evacuate, try to take your pet with you. If you must leave your pets in the house, do not tether or cage them. Leave a sign in the window and a note on the door indicating what animals are inside. Provide water and food in timed dispensers. Leave toilet seats up.

If the Power Goes Out

Because short-term power outages happen from time-to-time most people don't consider a power outage to be an "emergency." However, most Saskatoon home-heating systems are dependant upon electric power to operate the furnace, the forced-air circulation and the thermostat controls. Power interruptions are normally short. However, there have been instances in Canada where power interruptions have lasted for days. In the winter an extended power failure can cause damage to walls, floors and plumbing. The consequences can be reduced in two ways: you can protect your home from frost damage before leaving, or take precautions that will allow you to stay in your home throughout the emergency.

It's important to note that SaskPower generates all of the electrical power used in Saskatoon. The city distributes that electricity to households and businesses in an area roughly contained within our 1958 civic boundary. SaskPower distributes electricity to all other areas of the city. If you are unsure of who distributes your power, check your utility bill.

Check It Out

Is your home the only one without power on your street? If it is, check the circuit breakers or fuses in your electrical panel. If the problem is not internal, call your electric utility. 24 hour telephone number: SaskPower 306-310-2220 Saskatoon Light & Power 306-975-2621

Tune It In

If the power is out for an extended period of time or the emergency numbers are busy, turn on your battery-powered radio or your vehicle radio. Tune into any local radio station, and listen for more information from Saskatoon's emergency management officials.

Turn It Off

Shut off any computers, televisions, stereos and other appliances.

Hang Up

Use the telephone as little as possible. Try to keep the lines open for officials who are managing the emergency.

Stay Home

Unless you are asked to evacuate your home, stay put. If you must go out, drive cautiously. If traffic lights are not working, light-controlled intersections must be treated as four-way stops. (Remember that your electrical garage door won't work, learn how to operate it manually.)

How To Protect Your Home From the Cold

If there is a prolonged power outage during the winter, there are measures you can take to help protect your house from frost damage.

  • Turn off all circuit breakers except one which controls a floor or table light. This light should be left in the "on" position. This light will signal the return of power.
  • Turn down the thermostat on the hot water heater and furnace.
  • Turn off the main water valve. Protect the valve inlet pipe and meter with blankets or other insulating material.
  • Open all water taps until the water flow stops.
  • Drain the water heater and flush toilets several times. Add some antifreeze to all drains and toilet bowls. (The antifreeze used in recreational vehicle systems is preferred.)
  • Check the operating manual for the dishwasher, washing machine and other appliances for instructions on draining and frost protection.
  • Block any drafts with blankets or towels

Home Generators

Home generators are handy for backup electricity in case of an outage, but there are hazards to be aware of. Serious accidents can happen if the generator is connected to an existing electrical circuit. Direct installation of a generator to an existing electrical system should be done by a licensed electrical contractor and must meet building codes. To operate a generator safely, follow these simple steps:

  • follow manufacturers instructions.
  • always ensure that a portable generator operates outdoors in well-ventilated conditions, away from doors or windows to prevent exhaust gas from entering the house.
  • connect lights and appliances directly to the generator. If extension cords must be used, ensure they are properly rated CSA approved cords.

If You Decide To Remain In Your Home

  • If you have a fireplace, keep a good supply of fuel and matches on hand.
  • If you plan to install a stove or heater which does not require electricity or a generator, make sure it is properly installed and vented to the outside. Use only fuel-burning heaters certified by the Canadian Standards Association or Canadian Gas Association. Check with your local utility about what can be installed safely and be sure to get a certified installer to do your work.

What To Do When the Power Returns

When the power is back on, make sure to do the following:

  • Check the entire house for any damage. Check food supplies in cupboards, refrigerators and freezers for signs of spoilage. If the freezer door has been kept closed, food should stay frozen for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Turn on circuit breakers .
  • Check all electrical appliances one by one.
  • Turn on the water supply. Close lowest taps first to allow air to escape from upper taps.
  • Make sure the hot water tank is filled before turning up the thermostat
  • Rinse out the dishwasher and washing machine if necessary.
  • Warm the house slightly above normal temperature for a few hours to allow it to dry out excess humidity.

What To Do When You Are Asked To Leave Your Home

For your own safety, you and your family may be asked to evacuate your home during or before a disaster. Here are a number of tips to secure your home and evacuate safely:

  • Protect your house from frost damage as above (if in winter).
  • Follow all instructions from emergency officials announced on radio or issued by police or fire personnel.
  • Report to a Registration and Inquiry Center. Let officials know you are okay and where you will be staying.
  • Ask for transportation and accommodation if you need it. You will be provided with a ride and a place to sleep if required.
  • Take only essential items (listen to your radio for more details).
  • Lock all doors and windows before you leave your home.

What To Do After a Disaster

Right after the emergency, you may be confused or disoriented. Try to stay calm, and remember the following procedures:

  • Help the injured. Your emergency survival kit may be required.
  • Listen to the radio there may be more information and instructions.
  • Don't use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. Emergency crews will need all lines.
  • Check your home for damage. Use a flashlight - don't light matches or turn on electrical switches if you suspect damage. Check for fires, fire hazards or other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater and furnace. If you smell gas, turn off the main valve. Open windows and get everyone outside immediately. Shut off any other damaged utilities. Clean up spilled bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately. Wear protective clothing. Confine and secure your pets.
  • Once you are satisfied that your family and home are secure, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or people with disablities.

*If you turn off the gas, it should only be turned back on by a gas company professional.

Emergency Supplies

Have on hand at least a three day supply of food and water. Choose ready-to-eat foods (some that don't require refrigeration and some that don't require cooking.) Here are a few tips to guide you in accumulating your supplies:

Water: A normally active person needs to drink at least two litres (roughly half a gallon) of water each day. People in hot environments, children, nursing mothers, and ill people will require even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Plan on using at least 4 litres (about 1 gallon) per person, per day. In an emergency, water can be retrieved from toilet tanks (not bowl!), water heaters, or melted ice cube trays.

Food: canned food can include soups, stews, baked beans, pasta meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and/or fruits. Crackers and biscuits are handy, as is honey, peanut butter, syrup, jam, salt and pepper, sugar, instant coffee and/or tea.

Equipment: keep a supply of forks, knives, spoons, manual can opener, bottle opener, disposable cups and plates. A fuel stove and fuel are handy (don't use a barbecue indoors).  Don't forget waterproof matches and plastic garbage bags.

Basic Emergency Survival Kit

  • flashlight and batteries
  • radio and batteries
  • spare batteries
  • first-aid kit
  • candles and matches / lighter
  • food and bottled water
  • clothing and footwear
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • toilet paper and other personal supplies
  • medication / prescriptions
  • backpack / duffel bag
  • important papers (identification for everyone)
  • whistle, in case you need to attract attention
  • playing cards, games

Vehicle Kit

  • shovel
  • tow chains
  • warning light / flares
  • axe / hatchet
  • road maps
  • methyl hydrate / de-icer
  • survival blanket
  • sand, salt, kitty litter
  • compass
  • extra clothing / footwear
  • booster cables
  • matches / survival candle
  • flashlight
  • traction mats
  • cloth / paper towels
  • emergency food pack
  • ice scraper / brush
  • fire extinguisher
  • first aid kit

Additional Resources

Sheltering in Place

Emergency Survival Kits

Winter Storm Safety