Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen talks at the emergency preparedness open house.

Preparing for an emergency discussed

Emergency preparedness open house attended by many

Local residents looking for information on how to ready themselves for natural disasters packed the Emergency Preparedness Open House on Nov. 15 in council chambers.

Throughout the meeting, it was stressed that residents are responsible for their own emergency preparedness.

Fire Chief Steve Sorensen stated due to the volunteer nature of the fire department and Emergency Operation Centre, residents must be prepared to be self-sufficient for seven to 10 days.

“We say you have to be prepared for 72 hours. We really mean you have to be prepared for at least 72 hours. In our region, a week is more realistic,” Sorensen said, adding that volunteers will make sure everything is okay at home before they commit to their emergency response duties.

“They’re going to make sure everything is okay at home and then as things stabilize they’ll start to drift in here and we’ll find them jobs to do.”

It was emphasized that people should have ‘Grab and Go’ bags in their homes, cars and at work.

The bags are emergency survival kits that contain items like basic first aid kits, water bottles, non-perishable food, prescriptions, eyeglasses, blankets or sleeping bag, clothing, walking shoes, money in small denominations, candles/matches, flashlight and radio with extra batteries, and games for children.

It was also suggested important documents like identification, home insurance papers and medical prescriptions should be photocopied and placed inside the bags.

Emergency plans and meeting places should be discussed with family members.

Residents should also have an “OK/Help” sign to put in their window to help emergency responders identify which residences require assistance. These are available at the local fire department.

The greatest risks for the District of Sooke and Juan de Fuca are wildland fires and winter storms. Other disasters discussed were wind storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. Power outages are not considered disasters.

Based on a 2007 simulation by the provincial government of a 7.3-8.4 magnitude mega thrust earthquake, a tsunami would take 30 minutes to reach Port Renfrew and 45 minutes to reach Sooke through the Juan de Fuca Strait.

According to Jeri Grant, Juan de Fuca emergency co-ordinator, within the first four hours, six waves are projected to come through.

Although the waves are not tall, they will carry a lot of energy and force.

She said the main indicator of a tsunami is a violent shaking that lasts two to three minutes. Although most of Sooke is well above sea level, residents of lower lying areas like Saseenos and Whiffin Spit are urged to move to higher ground.

For an emergency plan, municipal staff are trained to operate an Emergency Operation Centre, which facilitates emergency responders and finds the appropriate resources for responders to carry out their duties.

There is also the Emergency Social Services volunteers who will operate the emergency reception centre for impacted residents.

The reception centre will be located at the Sooke Community Hall, which has been equipped with a generator. There are provisions to keep people overnight if required.

ESS Co-ordinator and Deputy Fire Chief Rick McLeod said vouchers will be handed out to impacted residents for certain suppliers for necessities like clothing, meals and lodging for a 72-hour period.

The vouchers are funded by the provincial government.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit these websites:

www.publicsafety.gc.ca

www.pep.bc.ca

www.prepareyourself.ca

Just Posted

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sooke cougar sighting unconfirmed

Boy had a close encounter with the big cat

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read