Castlegar seniors learned how to prepare for an evacuation in the event one becomes necessary last Thursday.
Deb Chmara, a Red Cross disaster management team lead and Emergency Support Services director appointed by the City of Castlegar, gave a presentation to seniors at Kinnaird Hall, covering what happens during an evacuation, why seniors should be prepared and what they need to have with them when they evacuate.
Chmara helped at the evacuee registration and reception centre in Kamloops when Williams Lake was evacuated and warned seniors to prepare before an evacuation order is issued because people make irrational decisions when evacuating if they aren’t prepared.
“What you need to do is prepare yourself now so that if the call ever comes you are ready and that alleviates the trauma and the panic tremendously,” she said.
Chmara gave the seniors three brightly coloured index cards and advised them to write the following information on them:
• The names, addresses and contact information for at least two people outside of the Castlegar area who they would be able to stay with in the event of an evacuation (staying with either of these two contacts should be arranged in advance);
• The name of their insurance company and their policy number;
• Any medication they take regularly;
• Veterinary information for their pets, if any;
• Their doctor’s information;
• And important passwords and user names.
There should be a copy of each card for every adult in the household and one copy in the glove-box.
The talk was put on by the IRIS Project, an initiative of the Castlegar Community Response Network (CRN).
Asked why it was important for the IRIS Project to host a talk about how to prepare for an evacuation, Sandi McCreight, coordinator for the CRN, said, “The more it goes on around us, the more people are starting to… all of a sudden it clicks and people go, ‘Oh my God, what if it happens to us? What do we do?'”
The event gave seniors the chance to ask any questions of Chmara and was also an opportunity for McCreight, her daughter Mandy and IRIS Project’s assistant coordinator Brittany Scott to hand out PRIME Kits to seniors.
The PRIME (Personal Record In Medical Emergency) Kits include forms to be filled out with allergy and medication information, emergency contacts and medical history.
“It has everything and anything that an emergency responder will need,” explained McCreight. “Inside this envelope is also a vial. The idea is that the sticker in here goes on your fridge, the vial with the form rolled up in it goes in your fridge door.”
In the event of an evacuation, seniors can also grab the PRIME Kit vial from their fridges to bring with them.
McCreight will have PRIME Kits at the upcoming IRIS Project coffee groups. The next coffee group is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 21, 9 to 11 a.m. at Kinnaird Hall (2320 Columbia Ave.).