Emergency Preparedness is underway in Canada, and the Town of Okotoks is rising to the occasion.

This year's theme, which will remain the theme for the next two years, is "Be Prepared. Know Your Risks."

There's a long list of potential hazards to be prepared for in the Foothills, though Disaster Management Specialist Garth Misura says there are a few to be highlighted due to past occurrences and current conditions.

"Flooding is always top of the list because we've had some. But this year too, there's potential for some water shortages and drought so that's another thing to look for. And then all the other traditional hazards, tornadoes, large thunderstorms, extended power outages, things like that."

Okotoks Fire Chief Trevor Brice provided more context on this year's fire conditions and some of the preparedness resources available.

"Last year was the largest ever amount of wildfires that we had in a season, and this year we're looking forward to a drought. You add the two things up, that's probably going to be a worse wildland fire season this year... So we'll be looking at our FireSmart program. This is really how people can look after themselves and make sure their property is ready. There'll be some literature and people you can talk to there. It's simple things like making sure the leaves are out of the gutter, make sure your lawn's trimmed. All these things help stave a fire off if there is one, and stops it being close to your house."

The Town for Okotoks has prepared a different theme for each day of the week, including gathering supplies, getting informed, and making community connections.

They'll be sharing tips on their social media accounts each day for the corresponding theme.

Misura says there are three major steps that are good starting points.

"Make a plan with your family. What are you going to do if we do get a tornado and your kids are at school, what are we going to do for that? Two is build a kit so you're prepared for at least 72 hours. So that includes food and water but also things like medicine, stuff for your pets, any other specialty things. Then three is build some community resilience by getting to know your neighbours. Communities where people know each other are much more resilient to disasters than communities that are not."

He says including neighbours in emergency plans and knowing the needs and resources of other community members can be a huge help.

"One thing you can do is organize a block party. Organize something in your street where you get to know people. Learn people's names. In my culdesac, we have quite a few seniors, so they're going to need some help, but at the same time, a lot of them are home during the day so if there is an incident, my kids know to go home because the neighbours are going to be there."

On Saturday, May 11, an Emergency Preparedness Week Open House is being held at the Okotoks Curling Rink from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There'll be a chance to meet members of a few different local first responders groups including Okotoks RMCP, fire and rescue, municipal enforcement, and other agencies including utility and pet rescue companies.

More information on Emergency Preparedness Week can be found on the Town of Okotoks website.