Red Cross encourages emergency preparedness in wake of tornado

    TORONTO, Aug. 21 /CNW/ - The Canadian Red Cross is reminding all
individuals and families about the importance of emergency preparedness, after
a tornado touched down in the City of Vaughan last night.
    Red Cross volunteers are managing and staffing two shelters opened by the
City, and have also mobilized an Emergency Response Unit moving cots, blankets
and other supplies to affected areas. About 100 residents were forced to
evacuate their homes.
    "More than 20 volunteers have been deployed to support this relief effort
and we have placed volunteers on standby from surrounding areas as well," said
John Saunders, provincial director of disaster management for the Canadian Red
    The Red Cross will be working with local officials and community partners
to ensure the basic immediate needs of evacuees are met. So far, no residents
have needed to use the Red Cross shelters.
    "Extreme weather like this reminds us how important emergency
preparedness is," said Saunders. "Emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere,
and having an emergency plan and basic supplies on-hand will help to minimize
the impact on individuals and families."

    The Red Cross offers the following checklist to help people prepare a
    home survival kit:
    -   Flashlights and batteries
    -   Radio and batteries
    -   First aid kit
    -   Extra car keys and cash
    -   Important papers such as ID, personal documents
    -   Change of clothing and shoes
    -   Blankets or sleeping bags
    -   Toilet paper and personal supplies
    -   Medication and personal health supplies such as eyeglasses
    -   Baby supplies and comfort items for children
    -   A whistle to attract someone's attention
    -   Canned food and bottled water for three days, manual can opener
    -   If you have pets, remember their needs as well

    Residents interested in making a donation to Red Cross are asked to call
1-800-418-1111 and to designate the donation to the Canadian Disaster Relief
Fund to help Red Cross respond to disasters across Canada.
    The Canadian Red Cross responds to thousands of emergencies each year
ranging from house fires to hurricanes, forest fires and flooding. Learn more
about preparedness at

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Pager: (416) 442-1948

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