Prepare now

Not to be alarmist, but with the last week’s events this is a good reminder to review our emergency plans

Not to be alarmist, but with the last week’s events this is a good reminder to review our emergency plans.

The west coast and Haida Gwaii had a 7.7 earthquake that would have, according to a seismologist, “devastated Vancouver or Victoria.” As would a tsunami. Fortunately the seismic waves were such that this did not happen.

The US east coast is wading through the storm of the century.  Nine million are without power, 39 dead, over 80 homes destroyed by one fire in Queens, New York subways closed for days, perhaps weeks, 15,000 flights cancelled in what New Jersey governor Chris Christie calls, “Unthinkable devastation.” For a society so dependant on technology and mass transportation the storm will have far reaching and long lasting effects. And the toll increases hourly.

Here in the Cariboo we can feel complacent. “It won’t happen to us.” We will not have an earthquake and likely not a hurricane or tornado. The folks in Slave Lake likely thought that to, until last summer’s fire. Or the Chretien’s, the Penticton couple lost in Nevada.

One issue with the Haida Gwaii earthquake was communications, both provincially and locally.  Warnings were late from the provincial agencies, and the designated town evacuation centre they had no cell service – oops!

The US east coast, Ontario and Quebec cannot blame lack of notice. They all knew Sandy was coming. The issue was folks not heeding the evacuation orders, thinking “it can’t be that bad – we were fine last year.” It was that bad, and more.

Time to revisit emergency plans. Do you have a vehicle survival or emergency kit? Such items as shovel, blankets, chains, candles, flashlight, food, extra clothing and batteries could all be essential in a snowstorm. Is this kit in your trunk or pickup box? You might not be able to reach it.

At home, do you have your emergency pack and grab bag ready. Your emergency pack might have items similar to your vehicle kit. A grab bag would have medical essentials, passport, ID, prescriptions, insurance papers or land titles. Do you have three days or more food on hand, and perhaps a small generator? There are many sites which will give you ideas.

In a major emergency we could well suffer from multiple communication failures. No internet, no phones, no Skpe – no nothing. It would be useful to have some plan worked out with your family as to where to meet.  Assuming major cities are cut off how might you communicate or where might you meet family?

Just a reminder. Plan ahead and prepare for the worst.


100 Mile House Free Press