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Jeanne Walsh, the City’s Safety and Emergency Management Co-ordinator, says, “Every year in B.C. and throughout the world, events occur that remind us that the key to successfully managing emergencies is preparedness.” She brings up the flooding in the Peace Region last year closing a major route to the southern part of the province as an example of a situation that could have been far worse without the planning and co-ordination of emergency teams and local governments.

The City’s response plan is now available on its website or by clicking the pdf below.

Public Safety Canada recommends that families be prepared to take care of themselves for a minimum of 72 hours, as emergency workers may not be able to reach everyone immediately in the case of an emergency.

Throughout this week, families are encouraged to take the following steps to become better prepared: know the risks specific to your community, develop a family emergency plan and practice it, and prepare emergency kits for your home and your vehicle.

Here’s what you need in a basic home emergency kit:

* Water – two litres of water per person per day (include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order).
* Food – canned food, energy bars and dried foods that will not spoil (remember to replace the food and water once a year).
* Manual can opener.
* Flashlight and batteries.
* Battery powered or wind-up radio (and extra batteries).
* First aid kit.
* Special needs items – prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities.
* Extra keys for your car and house.
* Cash – include smaller bills, such as $10 bills (travellers’ cheques are also useful) and change for payphones.
* Emergency plan – include a copy of it and ensure it contains in-town and out-of-town contact information.
* A copy of important documents – birth certificate, passport, B.C. CareCard, insurance, photos of family members.
* Pet food.

Some recommended items:

* A change of clothing and footwear for each household member.
* Sleeping bag or warm (foil) blanket for each household member.
* A whistle (in case you need to attract attention).
* Garbage bags for personal sanitation.
* Toilet paper and other personal care supplies.
* Safety gloves.
* Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, fasteners, work gloves).
* Small fuel-driven stove and fuel (follow manufacturer’s directions and store properly).
* Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning.

In addition to the above home kit, it’s also important to have a ‘Grab & Go Kit’ that is light and portable in case you have to leave your home with little or no notice. Suggested items for this kit can be found here:
http://www.pep.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/personal_preparedness.html.

Disaster preparedness kits can be purchased from the Canadian Red Cross by going to their website: www.redcross.ca.

To learn more about how you can be prepared for a disaster, visit the Emergency Management BC website at: www.pep.bc.ca and the Public Safety Canada website at: www.getprepared.gc.ca.

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