Emergency Preparedness Week: Are you prepared?



Thunderstorms are the focus of our Emergency Preparedness report today.

They’re not as destructive as a tornado, but still potentially dangerous.

Simcoe County’s Manager of 911 and emergency Planning Colleen Simpson says thunderstorms often result in lightning strikes, so the best place to be is indoors, “Away from doors, windows, fireplaces, and even sources of water like tubs and showers because they may conduct electricity. After the storm has finished, you want to stay indoors for about 30 minutes after that passes.”

If you’re outdoors and unable to make it to shelter, stay out from under trees, which can attract lightning. Simpson says your best course of action is to find a low-lying area and crouch down on the balls of your feet. The less of you touching the ground, the less chance there is you’ll be affected by lightning that strikes the ground near you.

Click on the following links for more tips on being prepared for an emergency:

County of Simcoe Emergency Management

City of Barrie Emergency Management

Tomorrow: Putting together your escape plan


Flooding wasn’t an issue this year as winter passed the torch to spring, but it has been in the past.

And it still could be, if we get torrential downpours through the summer

Simcoe County’s Manager of 911 and Emergency Planning, Colleen Simpson, says there are some basic preventative measures you can take to lessen the risk of damage to your home. “Install a sump pump and test it annually. Install a zero-reverse flow valve that helps take the water out of your basement. Extend your downspouts outside to carry the water away from your home, so it’s not coming back into your basement, and keep those downspouts and drains clear of debris.”

If you have items stored in the basement, Simpson recommends you move them upstairs if there’s a danger of flooding, or store them in plastic containers. Chemicals and hazardous materials should also be stored accordingly.

And do yourself a favour, says Simpson, make sure you have homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance, “You never know when a disaster may strike. As the theme for this year says: Expect Anything. You don’t know when it’s going to strike. You may need to stay in a hotel or replace items that are destroyed in a disaster event.

Tomorrow: Do’s and Dont’s when thunder roars


It came out of nowhere – the tornado that struck south Barrie last July.

Or did it?

As we continue our Emergency Preparedness Week coverage, Simcoe County’s Manager of 911 and Emergency Planning, Colleen Simpson, notes there were tell-tale signs in the hours before that day turned ugly, beginning with severe weather watches and warnings from Environment Canada.

“It’s always a good idea to watch the weather warnings and watch the sky and see what’s happening. The clouds tend to change colour. The sky gets darker, and the wind picks up, of course, and then a tornado is imminent.

If you do see a tornado or funnel cloud, Simpson says you should get indoors as quickly as possible, away from windows, preferably in a basement.

If you can’t get inside, stay away from trees, lie flat in a low-lying area, and cover your head with your arms to lessen the risk of being hit by flying debris. Do not, she says, stay in your car, it could be swept up by the storm and dropped anywhere. Seeking shelter under a bridge is also not recommended since debris could be flung underneath it.

Tornado season started in late April and goes until the end of September, but most tornadoes in Canada occur between May and August. Last year’s tornado in south Barrie was an EF-2 with winds at about 210 kilometres an hour.

Some residents, whose homes were wrecked, are still awaiting a return, held back by shortages of building supplies, contractors and wrangling with insurance companies.

Tomorrow: Preparing for a major flood

feature image: Barrie 360 archive


It is Emergency Preparedness Week.

Are you prepared?

We got a good indication last July of why you should be prepared, when a tornado tore up a portion of south Barrie, forcing some people out of their homes for a few days. Some, are still waiting to get back in.

Simcoe County’s Manager of 9-1-1 and Emergency Planning, Colleen Simpson, says a 72-hour emergency kit is a must-have item in your home, “Think about all the things you would need if you did not have access to your home. So, food and water – about four litres per day per person of water – non-perishable foods, and then a can opener and maybe a way to prepare them like a camping stove, a pot for cooking. A first aid kit is essential, you don’t know what’s going to happen if you’re not at home.”

But that’s not all. Clothing. A flashlight might come in handy. Cash, in the event debit and credit card machines are not working. A cellphone with both a home and a car charger. Toiletries and prescriptions. A deck of cards, games, or puzzles to help pass the time.

Be sure to leave it in a handy spot, where you can grab it quickly and go.

Simpson says working out ahead of time where you will go is also helpful, be it a relative’s home or a friend’s place.

And don’t forget a battery-operated or wind-up radio, so you can get updates on the emergency. While many people rely on their cellphones and social media for such information, there can be transmission trouble due to related problems at nearby cell towers. Or, there could be too many people trying to get that information at the same time, jamming cell phone signals.

Click on the following links for more tips on being prepared for an emergency:

County of Simcoe Emergency Management

City of Barrie Emergency Management

Tomorrow: Preparing for a tornado