Are you ready for the Big One? Or what about a small or medium-sized one? Chances are, you’re not at all ready for a disaster of any kind. Getting you there is what Emergency Preparedness Week – happening May 1 to 7 across Canada – is all about.
Whether it’s an earthquake, a flood, a fire, or even the zombie apocalypse, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has reported that 53% of Canadians are not at all ready to endure the first 72 hours of a disaster situation. When you consider that it can sometimes be difficult or impossible for first responders to access some disaster sites immediately, it is a concerning matter for all Canadians.
You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to be prepared, though. You also don’t have to spend a lot of time and money getting ready. There are many online resources to help you get a kit together and many products and services are available for easy use and purchase. Here are some of the essentials to include in your emergency kit:
- An easy-to-carry pack, in case you have to move or transfer your family
- Lots of water (you’ll need as much as four litres per person per day)
- Non-perishable food items like dried or canned goods and energy bars
- Flashlights, batteries, a radio, toilet paper, and some basic utensils
- A first aid kit with a selection of medications (especially prescriptions)
- Extra car and house keys and a stash of cash in both coins and small bills
- A written emergency plan that includes contact information and emergency information
We sometimes think of disasters being something that happens to people in other countries: deadly earthquakes in Ecuador, tsunamis lashing the coast of Japan, and outbreaks of ebola across West Africa.
But then let’s remember the 1998 ice storm in Montréal, the tornado that twisted through Goderich, Ontario in 2011, the horrific train derailment at Lac-Mégantic in 2013, and the fires blazing through Fort McMurray. Then consider the fact that there are over 1200 recorded seismic events each year here in British Columbia.
You can never fully predict when and where disaster will strike. But you can be prepared if it does happen in your community and to your family.