Emergency Preparedness Week is a national awareness initiative that has taken place annually since 1996.
The week encourages Canadians to take three simple steps to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies: Know the risks, ake a plan and get an emergency kit.
In the Okanagan, the major risk is wildfires.
The Okanagan has experienced some of the worst emergency crises in Canada with its wildfires.
During an emergency, you and your family could be on your own for some time or be asked to evacuate your home.
It may take emergency workers some time to get to you if there is a large event.
As well, access to phones, gas, water, sewer and electrical services may be cut off.
Learning how to be personally prepared is critical to your family’s safety.
Each year, thousands of people face emergency situations that could change their lives forever. Don’t be caught off-guard.
Make a plan that includes the following:
o Know your safe exits from home and neighbourhood
o Arrange meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
o Designate a person to pick up children should you be unavailable
o Decide who are contact persons close-by and out-of-town
o Keep health and insurance information handy
o Locate your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical panel, gas valve and floor drain.
Know the hazards in your area and take the time to assemble your family emergency kit.
In a disaster when you are asked to evacuate your home, there is often no time to collect emergency supplies.
Ensure you have grab-and-go kits for your home, office and vehicle.
They should all contain water and supplies for a minimum of 72 hours.
You may have some of the items already, such as food, water and a battery operated or wind-up flashlight, medicines and copies of important identification.
Make sure your kit is easy to carry and everyone in the household knows where it is.
Keep it in a backpack, duffle bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front-hall closet.
Your Summerland Emergency Support Services team is there to help, offering 72 hours of food, shelter and clothing in the event of evacuation under the Provincial Emergency Management Program.
In a large emergency event, if you are evacuated, you will be asked to report to your local Emergency Reception Centre.
There, trained volunteers can provide support for you and even your pets to help you through this emergency.
This year, Emergency Social Services and the Summerland Fire Department will have a display on being prepared at the municipal office from Monday to Friday during Emergency Preparedness Week.
Drop by to get information and see our display grab and go bag.
Even with the Emergency Social Services support, it is critical that you are prepared for an emergency.
“People must be prepared to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours,” said Fire Chief Glenn Noble.
“In the event of a large scale emergency or disaster, local and or senior levels of government may not have the resources to respond or restore services in a timely manner”.
Start on your emergency plan this week and put together your grab and go bag.
For more information call ESS Director John Topham at 250-494-6434 or Fire Chief Glenn Noble at 250-494-7211 or visit getprepared.gc.ca or embc.gov.bc.ca/em/hazard_preparedness/Personal_Safety.html.