Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies and disasters are unpredictable and can happen at any time. The more work you do today the more resilient and better prepared you are to cope with a disaster. 

Don't wait for an emergency to find out how unprepared you and your family might be!

Current best knowledge indicates that you may be without aid for up to 72 hours in the event of an emergency - during this time you will need to provide shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation for yourself and your family. It's vital you do your part in becoming informed, protecting yourself during the emergency, and knowing what to do after.

Why 72 Hours?

In the event of an emergency, it will take emergency responders and essential service personel time to mobilze and coordinate their response. Their primary responses may be directed to fixing or maintaining power and water and tending to those who cannot help themselves such as the sick and injured.

If many citizens are self-sufficient during the beginning of an emergency, essential workers will be better able to focus on their jobs and serve those truly in need.

In an emergency, your family may need to stay at home without access to food, water, or medicine. This is known as shelter in place. Alternatively, you may need to leave your home at very short notice and stay with friends or at an evacuation centre. Having an emergency plan and kit in place helps ensure that you are ready if an emergency strikes.

Three Simple Steps Toward Emergency Preparedness

By taking a few simple steps today, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere.

1. 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, earthquakes, wind storms, and technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills and power failures) can help you better prepare.

Learn more about:

Hazards in British Columbia
Hazards in Canada 
The Canadian Disaster Database

2. Make a plan and practice it

Every household needs an emergency plan. Having a plan and practicing it removes some of the ‘unknown’ in an emergency or disaster situation. Making a plan is easy. Watch this informative video , then visit GetPrepared.ca to get started.

When making your plan, think about:

To fill out your home emergency plan, you will need to think about the following:

  • Safe exits from home and neighborhood
  • Meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • Designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • Contact persons close-by and out-of-town
  • Special health needs
  • Place for your pet to stay
  • Location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain
3. Get or Make a kit

During an emergency, you may need to get by without power or tap water. Plan to be on your own for a minimum of 3 days. You will also need some basic supplies. Many emergency kit items may already be in your home. It's just a question of taking some time and putting them together as your emergency kit. ?Put the supplies for your kit all together, in one place that is easily accessible for the entire family. Watch this video ? for more information.

ItemDescription
Bottled WaterStore 4 litres of water per person per day. Ideally, you should replace the water bottles every time you change your clocks. If necessary, you can use the water in your toilet tank or hot water heater.
FoodA minimum of 3 days’ food that won’t spoil and requires minimal preparation, such as canned or dried food and energy bars. Check food expiry dates when you change your clocks and replace as needed. If you stock canned food, include a manual can opener in your kit. If you include a camping stove, do not use it indoors.
MedicationInclude any prescription medication that you or your family members take. Ideally, you should swap the medication out regularly for fresh medication. If you cannot store extra medication in your kit, make sure you take it with you in an evacuation. You may also want to include vitamins and medications to guard you against getting sick.
First Aid KitLearn what a First Aid kit should include and make sure that your First Aid kit is easy to access. Here's a content list for a basic First Aid Kit.
Wind-up Flashlight & RadioWind-up flashlight/radio combination models are available from many outdoor retailers. If you are using a battery-operated flashlight or radio, be sure to stock extra batteries and replace them every year.
External Battery Pack or Wind-up Cell Phone ChargerYou could be without power in your home for days, or you might have to evacuate. It is important that you are able to use your cell phone to call for help or to receive information. If phone lines are too busy, you can still receive updates and alerts on your mobile device.
Dust Masks & Duct TapeThese supplies will help you shelter-in-place.
WhistleA whistle will help attract attention if needed.
Personal Sanitation ItemsConsider including moist towelettes, garbage bags and toilet paper.
Warm Clothes & Blankets or Sleeping BagsBlankets or sleeping bags are much warmer than survival blankets. You may want to pack both, but survival blankets do not replace real blankets.
Important DocumentsHave emergency contact information as part of your family emergency plan. Store this information and important documents in your 72-hour kit. Consider including digital copies of important documents, music, photos, and anything else you might want to keep. Review documents periodically and ensure that they are up to date.

Cash in Small Bills & Coins

You should include cash because debit and credit cards may not work in an emergency situation or if the power is out. You might need coins in case you have to use a payphone or use coin-operated laundry facilities.
Baby Supplies & Items For Your PetIf applicable, stock your kit with baby food, diapers, formula, extra clothes and baby wipes. If you have a pet, have an evacuation plan for your pet.
EntertainmentYou may want to consider including non-power consuming entertainment for children and adults, such as games, card or books.

 

Prepare a Life Baggie

Life Saving Information For Emergencies (LIFE)

A LIFE Baggie contains medical information that assists emergency personnel during a crisis in the home. Create your own baggie by downloading and filling out the downloadable form HERE

More Resources at PreparedBC

PreparedBC is your one-stop resource for disaster readiness information. Their goal is to make preparing for emergencies as easy as possible. They've developed a methodical step-by-step guide to becoming prepared in the event of an emergency.

Download a copy of the PreparedBC: Household Preparedness Guide and the companion PreparedBC: Household Emergency Plan. Fill in the blanks and you're on your way to a prepared household in 11 easy steps.

Visit PreparedBC for more information and easy to follow guides and "Be Prepared."