Most Canadians not prepared for disaster: Red Cross

Bow River flood waters fill Prince's Island Park near downtown Calgary, Alta. on Friday, June 21,...

Bow River flood waters fill Prince's Island Park near downtown Calgary, Alta. on Friday, June 21, 2013. Massive flood waters throughout southern Alberta heavily affected many thousands of residents. Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

Canadians are not well-prepared for emergencies, the Canadian Red Cross warned Monday, saying it responded to an "unusually high" number of disasters last year.

The agency helped more than 91,000 people in 2013 — quadruple the total from 2012. The Alberta floods, the Ontario ice storm and the Lac-Megantic train explosion were the largest of the 2,800 emergencies it responded to.

"These events remind us that disasters can touch all of us regardless of the community we live in, and that we must take steps to prepare ourselves," CEO Conrad Sauve said in a press release.

The agency is concerned most Canadians don't believe a disaster will happen to them: a 2012 Ipsos poll conducted for the Canadian Red Cross found 66% of respondents hadn't done anything to prepare for a disaster, the main reason being "the perceived rarity of a disaster occurring in their area," the release says.

Because agency and volunteer resources are stretched in a major emergency, "individuals and families must take responsibility for their own safety and well-being."


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