May 25, 2019 1:26 pm

Alberta researcher suggests planning ahead for sudden evacuation

WATCH: (Nov. 20, 2018) How hospitals evacuate patients in an emergency

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Many Canadians have already faced the brunt of Mother Nature so far in 2019, from flooding in Eastern Canada to the wildfire that’s threatening the community of High Level, Alta.

With more severe weather likely to come this summer, one researcher at the University of Alberta suggests it may be time for you and your family to plan for an emergency evacuation.

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READ MORE: Emergency financial assistance coming to High Level wildfire evacuees with wind set to shift Sunday

Injury prevention researcher Dr. Louis Francescutti tells the Alberta Morning News you should start making your plan with one question:

“Would you be prepared to leave your home for up to a week within the next half hour, and to make sure you take all the things with you that are essential?”

Francescutti suggests having a suitcase filled with a change of clothes, fresh water, documents and cash, so if you need to leave on short notice, you can grab the luggage and go.

READ MORE: Acts of kindness make impressions on High Level wildfire evacuees

He also says staying connected with your family is key, especially if the evacuation takes place in the middle of the day and everyone is separated.

“Have a family relative or friend that’s outside the province, ideally, that everyone checks in with,” Francescutti says. “So let’s say your mom lives in Montreal, then you call her and you say to her, ‘Listen, Mom, I’m okay, has my wife called in, or have the kids called in,’ just to let them know where everyone is.”

Francescutti says it’s a good idea to fill your car full of fuel before the rush to the gas pumps as everyone evacuates. And before you leave, lock the doors to your house and turn off the main water valve.

WATCH: New online tool tracks wildfire smoke

He also recommends keeping up to date on basic first aid training and CPR, in case someone is hurt in the panic of evacuating.

Francescutti says once you have the plan in place, rehearse it and modify when needed, because you never know when you’ll have to evacuate.

“These things always happen when you least expect them…it could happen this afternoon, it could happen for two years, but they will continue to happen.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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