The ability to respond to various types of emergencies is very important and should be considered when developing family preparedness plans, business response plans, and overall emergency readiness.
The following sections outline specific hazards and important preparedness information relating to Anthrax, Spills response, Pandemics, hazards associated with Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Explosive Hazards / Terrorism, and Radiation.
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. It is generally acquired following contact with anthrax-infected animals or anthrax-contaminated animal products. Anthrax has received heightened attention recently because of its use as a biological warfare agent.
In general, spills are releases of pollutants into the environment, from a structure, vehicle or other container, that is abnormal in quality or quantity.
This can include:
- crude oil, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene
- chemical Acids, bases, solvents
- gases and particulates (nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide)
- sewage waste, industrial; waste, agricultural waste
Whenever a spill has occurred, it is very important that the proper authority is notified to increase the response time and reduce the potential for environmental and human health effects. If a spill has been identified, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action Centre must be notified (1-800-268-6060).
Pandemic Influenza is an outbreak of influenza (flu) on a large or global scale. It is different than an epidemic, which is usually contained within a region or country. To help the provincial health system to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed the Ontario Health Plan for an Influenza Pandemic (OHPIP).
Pandemic Planning focuses on two key concepts:
- To minimize the serious illness and overall death deaths through the management of Ontario’s Health System
- Minimize the societal impact in Ontario as a result of an influenza pandemic
For more information:
Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events are an uncontrolled release of chemicals, biological agents or radioactive contamination into the environment or explosions that cause widespread damage. These incidents can be caused by accidents or by acts of terrorism.
Response to these types of events would require a collaborative effort by federal, provincial, and municipal government agencies. Public Safety Canada published the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Resilience Strategy for Canada that outlines the federal response to these emergencies.
The chance of a serious accident at a nuclear facility in Ontario is very low, although, radiation can affect the body in a number of ways, and the adverse health effects of exposure may not be apparent for many years. Due to the health effects associated with radiation exposure, being prepared is very important.
If a radiation emergency occurs, you can take actions to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your pets:
- Get Inside – the walls of your home can block much of the harmful radiation
- Stay sheltered – if a nuclear event occurred, you may be asked to stay inside or take shelter for a period of time. Self decontaminate (wash yourself and your clothing)
- Keep informed – listen to emergency messaging through radio, television or and/or social media to obtain information on the emergency.