During an emergency, you might not have the time to make alternative plans. You may also not be aware of who to listen to for instructions. That’s why it is important to know who to call and what to do under different circumstances.
It is important to stay informed during an emergency. There are numerous ways to receive emergency information including:
Be sure to share emergency information that you receive with all members of your household and your neighbours.
During a major emergency, follow the City on Twitter @thecityoftoronto or @TorontoOEM for up to date information.
When a large scale emergency strikes our City, Toronto will activate its Emergency Response Plan. The plan details the methods in which the City mobilizes its resources during a crisis. It also ensures all City organizations, emergency response services, and key agencies are fully aware of their respective roles and responsibilities.
It is equally important for all families, individuals, businesses and property owners to have their own emergency response plan to help them respond and recover from the emergency.
In situations where the size of the emergency is beyond the scope of the neighbourhood, building or community’s Emergency Plan, and residents are displaced from their homes, first responders will contact the Office of Emergency Management to coordinate emergency assistance to those affected.
Depending on the nature of the emergency, this response will include some if not all of the following services:
During an emergency, you may be asked to stay inside (shelter in place) or evacuate. In the event of an emergency, officials will advise you on whether you should stay inside or leave.
If you are asked to shelter in place, there are ways you can protect your family and your property. You should have:
If you must evacuate your home:
Remember to bring the following with you if it is safe to do so:
Learn what to do after evacuating.
Power failures and utility disruptions can be caused by failures in the system or external events, such as severe weather. A power outage may last from a few minutes to a few days. Prolonged power outages in extreme hot or cold weather may put your health and safety at risk.
Conveniences we regularly enjoy, such as elevators and running water,may be affected during a power outage. Toronto Hydro will work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Your patience is needed and appreciated while these complex issues are resolved.
During an extended power outage, your building’s property management staff or community organizations, such as the Canadian Red Cross, might visit you at home to make sure you are safe.
In the event of fire:
Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as possible. But in some cases, like if the fire is on a lower floor and is blocking your exit, you may not be able to leave. In either case you must act quickly as every second counts. The longer you wait, the more risk there is that heavy smoke will have spread into stairways and corridors.No matter what your decision, you must protect yourself from the smoke.
If you encounter smoke on your way down the stairs, follow these safety tips:
During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:
Also learn how to feed your baby during an emergency.
During an emergency, the City is unable to accept clothing or household items, as it doesn’t have the capacity to store or distribute the items.
Clothing and household items can be donated to local community agencies that accept these items on a regular basis (e.g., Salvation Army). Community agencies also accept financial donations, which can be used to purchase goods or services to assist evacuated residents.
Due to health and safety regulations food donations can’t be accepted.
The City appreciates your interest and willingness to assist. The City cannot accept donations of prepared and/or store bought food. Contact Daily Bread or the local food bank in your community to find out how you can donate. The City will be working with local agencies to ensure resources are used to respond to the emergency.
Canned goods and non-perishable items should be donated directly to community agencies. You need to check with the community agency before making a donation
Community agencies also accept financial donations, which can be used to purchase goods or services to assist evacuated residents.
The City of Toronto appreciates the support of residents willing to assist during an emergency.
In order to best serve community needs and ensure those volunteering are safe, trained and able to help in a meaningful way, the City recommends potential volunteers sign up ahead of time with an accredited volunteer agency that can provide proper training, screening and support.
Getting involved with a volunteer agency before an emergency occurs will improve your ability to help during a crisis or when help is needed.
As part of its Emergency Plan, the City of Toronto is committed to partnering with community organizations that may assist in times of an emergency.
Below is a list of some community and faith based organizations where you may want to register as a volunteer. If you want get involved, click on any of the links and follow the instructions on how to register. These organizations have been identified as ones that may assist the City and its communities, in the event of an emergency situation. The City of Toronto does not formally endorse individual organizations. You may choose to support one of these agencies or one of the many others that support our city.
Salvation Army – Emergency Disaster Services
We have mapped these organizations, along with numerous other community organizations who have the ability to accept volunteers on the City’s Wellbeing Index.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to help the City of Toronto’s emergency response and recovery efforts.
If you are a registered, non-profit agency and would like to be added to this list, please contact email@example.com.