If an emergency official was on your doorstep and told you that you had 15 minutes to leave your home, would your family be ready? Or would you be scrambling through your house grabbing anything within reach?
This scenario has been a real one for thousands of Central Okanagan families as a result of previous emergencies. For those who prepared Grab and Go kits in advance, it was easier than it was for those families that didn’t.
The Central Okanagan’s Regional Emergency Program coordinator says preparing in advance, helps to reduce the stress that happens when an evacuation order is issued and for their safety residents are asked to leave their homes.
Deputy Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting adds, “By taking a few simple steps now, when you and your family are not under the pressure of the clock, you can better prepare to face a range of emergencies, anytime, anywhere. You should be ready to cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, while first responders and rescue workers fight the immediate threats and help those in urgent need.”
A Grab and Go kit should be easy to carry and contain important documents, medications, personal equipment and basic personal needs for each family member.
Whiting says, “Canned or dried food and at least two litres of water per person per day should be a part of your emergency kit. It’s a good idea to replace these items with fresh stock at least once a year.”
This is a good time for all Central Okanagan residents to review and revise their family emergency plans or if you don’t have a plan, get your family together to make one.”
Whiting reminds residents that the Regional Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca has a Be Prepared section with links to useful information to help your family prepare for any number of emergencies that could impact you. You can also subscribe to receive email information updates whenever the EOC is activated. Subscribers receive real time notices whenever any new information is released from the Emergency Operation Centre including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders.
The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Emergency Management BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs. A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office, 1450 KLO Rd. in Kelowna, and the main Kelowna Fire Hall at 2255 Enterprise Way in Kelowna.
In the event of an emergency and activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).