Healthy Abbotsford Blog

What to do in an Emergency – There’s an App for that

Part of keeping your family healthy is keeping them safe. Public Safety Canada has created a mobile site where you can access information on your smart phone in the case of a variety of emergencies. There is information on what to do during a:

  • blizzard
  • earthquake
  • hurricane
  • chemical release
  • flood
  • ice storm
  • power outage
  • thunderstorm
  • tornado
  • tsunami
  • wildfire
  • evacuation

Bookmark in your smart phone so if you find yourself in an emergency situation you can find out what to do.

screen shot of the get prepared mobile site


Creating an Emergency Plan

Part of keeping your family healthy is keeping them safe. This short video from highlights some  of the important things you need to think about when putting together your emergency plan. As the video says, “by definition, emergencies happen when we don’t expect them.” Make sure that you and your family are safe in an emergency, take 20 minutes this week and create your emergency plan.

For a free copy of “Your emergency preparedness guide” click here.


Emergency Preparedness Week – Emergency Kits

Healthy Abbotsford is dedicated to supporting the residents of Abbotsford as they make changes to live a healthier life. Part of healthy living is also being prepared so that you can take care of your health in the case of an emergency. This week is Emergency Preparedness Week, a week dedicated to bringing awareness around the need to be prepared.

Every home should have an emergency kit ready to go. The City of Abbotsford, through it’s Abbotsford Emergency Program, has created a list of things that should be in your emergency kit:

The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case you need to evacuate your home. Whatever you do, don’t wait for a disaster to happen. Think of ways that you can pack your emergency kit so that you and those on your emergency plan can easily take the items with you, if necessary.

  • Water – two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)
  • Food – that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery–powered or wind–up radio (and extra batteries)
  • First aid kit
  • Special needs items – prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities
  • Extra keys – for your car and house
  • Cash – include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for payphones
  • Emergency plan – A family emergency plan will help you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency. Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan.  Include a copy of it and ensure it contains in–town and out–of–town contact information.

i am prepared logo of emergency kit


Screen free week – keep your family safe

Part of keeping your family healthy is keeping them safe. This Sunday is the last day of the Screen Free Week, what better way to spend it than outside learning how to keep your family safe in an emergency? The City of Abbotsford is hosting a free Family Emergency Preparedness Day to kick off Emergency Preparedness Week. Do you know what you need to have on hand should an emergency happen? How many days do you need to be able to take care of your family in case help doesn’t come right away? Come join us and learn the simple ways you can prepare so that your family is safe during an emergency.

Mill Lake Park
Sunday May 6 (11-2pm)


Screen Free Week – Getting Ready

Turning on the screen for a week is a big change in behaviour for most families. Here are some tips from the Screen Free Week kit on how to prepare for this week so that your family has a great experience.

It’s helpful if everyone in your family makes a commitment to try to make Screen-Free Week work for all of you. If adults are fully committed, children feel everyone is sharing the experience and is taking it seriously.

  • Decide what “screen-free” means for your family.
  • Make plans together for the week. 
  • Set a calendar of activities and events for the week.
  • Make a list of all the businesses and organizations in your community that offer activities that your family would enjoy.
  • Reclaim the family meal as a time for talking together and/or sharing stories. Plan your meals ahead of time and include the entire family (when possible) in the preparation and presentation of the meal. 
  • Include friends, relatives and neighbors in what you are doing, even if for just one day or evening. 

For the complete list of ideas download the free Screen Free Week kit here (you will have to sign up, it’s free).


Turn off the screen and turn on life

April 30 – May 6 is Screen Free Week. This week is dedicated to turning off the TV and computer and turning on all those other fun activities that we forget to do! Turning off the screen for 7 days may seem overwhelming, don’t worry, click here to download a free kit that has lots of information including 101 things to do besides watch TV (starts on page 43). You will need to sign-up (it’s free) to download the kit (it’s worth it).

Here are some facts from the kit about the impact of TV:

  • Forty percent of 3-month-old infants are regular viewers of screen media, and 19% of babies 1 year and under have a TV in their bedroom.
  • Screen time can be habit-forming: the more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning them off as older children.
  • Screen time for children under 3 is linked to irregular sleep patterns and delayed language acquisition.
  • Direct exposure to TV and overall household viewing are associated with increased early childhood
  • The more time preschool children spend with screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative
    play – the foundation of learning, constructive problem solving, and creativity.
  • Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen time are more likely to have increased psychological
    difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers.
  • Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.
  • Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity.
  • Children who spend less time watching television in early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and are better able to engage in schoolwork in later elementary school.

The kit also includes a section on what to do once screen free week is over so that you and your family don’t fall back into your old TV watching habits.

This week isn’t about throwing out the TV or the computer, it is about re-discovering all the other enjoyable things that are out there and finding a balance.

Screen Free Week logo


Healthy Living For Families: Helping you with Healthy Eating and Physical Activity at Home

ActNow BC has created an easy to follow booklet to help families make healthier choices. This booklet is available in 4 different school age groups (grades K-3, 4-7, 8-9, 10-12) and in the following 13 languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Chinese
  • Punjabi
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Farsi
  • Hindi
  • Russian
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese

Here is the introduction from the booklet:

Nothing is more important than our children’s health and our families’ health. We all want our children to grow and develop, to feel good about themselves and to have the energy they need to get the most out of life. As a parent or caregiver, chances are you already know and teach your kids about the basics of healthy eating and physical activity.

This booklet is designed to help you take it one step further, with tips on everything from healthy eating on the run
to being active together as a family. You’ll also find some guidelines on things like choosing healthier foods and balancing different kinds of physical activity. Check the list of websites and other resources at the back if you want more detailed information.

Remember: the habits and patterns formed in childhood affect us for the rest of our lives. Even small changes in our lifestyles today can make a world of difference for our children tomorrow.

To download your free copy, click here.


Organizing for a Healthy Home and a Happy Family!

When we think about healthy living we often consider the foods we eat and the amount of exercise we get. Far too often we don’t consider our surroundings and the impact our home environment can have on our health.   Have you every noticed that it’s alot easier to cook a healthy meal when you come home to a clean, organized kitchen?  Or go for a workout when all your gear is packed and ready to go?  Being organized directly impacts our physical and mental health.  

For some tips to get organized as a family and live healthy, check out this Healthy Abbotsford article in the myHealth section of today’s Abbotsford News.  Click on the electronic newpaper below and go to page A41.