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How to prepare for emergencies

A winter storm in 2006 took out cars, homes, power lines and trees, leaving people without power for many days. - File
A winter storm in 2006 took out cars, homes, power lines and trees, leaving people without power for many days.
— image credit: File

During the past month there was a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Haida Gwaii and the devastating storm, “Sandy” which traveled its way through the states and up to the provinces. Although many people were shaken by the Haida Gwaii earthquake, fortunately no one was hurt.

The storm ‘Sandy’ however not only left casualties and devastation, the clean up from the storm will take some time and life has changed for many people.

As seen by these two events, disasters can happen at any time, any place and may last a few seconds, minutes, several hours or days. The extent of a disaster varies from little damage to extreme damage. No area is immune to extreme weather conditions, flooding, earthquakes, fire, oil spills or any other potential threats or hazards.

What would you have done?

Remember, emergency personnel and units would be dealing with the immediate issues of the disaster; downed power lines, fire, and they may not be able to reach you due to road destruction, fallen trees, and floods.

How would you cope?

How long could you manage without power?  Without water?  Without food?

Could you manage for three days?  Could you manage for a week?  Perhaps three weeks?

What about after disaster? How long do you feel it would take for you to recover?

How prepared are you for a disaster?

Although planning and preparation is no guarantee disaster will not affect you, planning and preparation will hopefully prepare you enough you to handle and deal with the disaster and to minimize the impact to you, your family, property and neighbourhood.

Through the following articles of information it is hoped you, your family and your neighbourhood will prepare yourselves to handle an emergency or disaster should the need arise, which of course we hope never will.

There are various government emergency preparedness websites that will inform you how to plan and prepare for a disaster.

The following is an excerpt from http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/tlbx/rtcls-eng.aspx

website.  This is but a small sample of what you can do to start to help prepare yourselves and your neighbourhood.

Family Preparedness:

Is your family prepared?

Preparing for an emergency is important and something the whole family can do. By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies and minimize the impact on yourselves and your families.

Here are three simple steps to better prepare your family to face a range of emergencies:

• Know the risks – Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to our community and our region (like what to do in the case of floods, tornados, earthquakes, storm surges, hurricanes, and technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills and power failures) can help us better prepare.

• Make a plan —  Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family know what to do if disaster strikes. We should all practice what to do in different emergency situations.

• Get an emergency kit — During an emergency, we may need to get by without power or tap water. We will all need some basic supplies such as; three-day supply of water, non-perishable food, flashlight, batteries, battery-operated or wind-up radio, first aid kit, pocket knife, prescriptions, extra set of keys, money, and copies of important documents.

Is your neighbourhood prepared?

Preparedness goes a long way towards neighbourhoods being able to cope better – both during and after emergencies/disasters.

• Talk to your friends, family and co-workers about emergency preparedness. Develop the plans you need to make sure you are ready.

• Volunteer to help your neighbours and co-workers get prepared, and consider volunteering for a local emergency organization.

• Lead efforts in your community. Educate others by teaching them of the importance of emergency preparedness and by encouraging groups to coordinate their efforts.

• Take stock of the emergency response agencies in your community. Ask them what they need and how you can help.

• Take a moment to check out the various emergency preparedness websites. Also check out the Sooke Fire Rescue Service and Sooke Emergency Program websites.

Remember a disaster can happen at any time, in any place and the extent of a disaster varies. No one knows how long the emergency/disaster will last or how long the clean up may take.

Take a moment to get yourself, your family and your neighbourhood prepared.

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