It is important to plan ahead before disasters occur. Not only will having a plan in an emergency keep you safe, but it will also reduce personal anxiety and enable first responders to focus on those in urgent need. In any major emergency event, first responders may also be overwhelmed and could potentially take up to 72 hours to respond. Here are a couple steps to creating a strong emergency preparedness plan:
Step 1: Know the Hazards for your Area
British Columbia is an expansive province that features various landscapes such as mountains, rainforests, deserts, rivers, lakes, and beaches. Hazards for B.C. can include earthquakes, tsunamis, severe weather, landslides, floods, power outages, and wildfires. You can learn more about hazards in your specific area through the interactive hazard map on the Emergency Management BC website
Step 2: Build an Emergency Kit
You will want to have your emergency kit gathered now so you are ready in the event that disaster strikes. Creating a home emergency kit does not need to be an overly complicated or expensive endeavour. When constructing your kit, you will want to keep the basic needs in mind (Water, Food, and Shelter) and remember to add personal items such as prescription medications, as well as photocopies, or important documents such as your passport. Always make sure your emergency kit is located in an easily accessible location and that the products have been replaced prior to their expiry date.
- Food (Ready to Eat) and Water
- Manual Can Opener for Canned Goods
- Flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries (w/ Extra Batteries)
- AM/FM Radio
- Seasonal Clothing (Waterproof Outer Layer)
- Duct Tape
- Pen and Notepad
- Cell Phone and Device Charger
- Personal Toiletries
- Small First Aid Kit
- Extra Pair of Glasses or Contacts
- Local Map
- Contact Card
- Copies of Important Documents
You can't count on being at home during an emergency event so it would be best to also create a personal kit for your work area and vehicle. Feeling unenergetic? Emergency kits can also be purchased and or largely constructed from the list above through Canadian Red Cross or Mountain Equipment Coop.
Items of Consideration:
- Pet Food or Baby Formula
- Water Filtration Device or Purifying Tablets
- Sleeping Bags for Each Family Member
- Basic Tools
- Small Fuel-Operated Stove and Fuel
- Activities for Children (Books, Puzzles, etc.)
Step 3: Make a Home Emergency Plan
An emergency plan is a playbook of how you and your household will respond during a disaster. As you may know from preparing study guides for that fateful end of semester exam, making the plan is one of the best reinforcements to commit it to memory. It will help in reducing anxiety and will ensure you and your family or housemates know what to do.
Follow the link below to be directed to the Emergency Management BC website which has easy to use templates to create your own home emergency plan.