Is your family disaster prepared for 72 hours?

Pictured: Thompson Nicola Regional District Emergency Preparedness Supervisor Ron Storie (left) takes members of Barriere ESS through a mock disaster table-top exercise

Pictured: Thompson Nicola Regional District Emergency Preparedness Supervisor Ron Storie (left) takes members of Barriere ESS through a mock disaster table-top exercise

Canada is a vast country with extreme weather conditions and dramatic geological features.  Landslides, flooding, storm surges, earthquakes and other hazards are all potential threats in Canada.  But with some careful planning and preparation, Canadians can learn how to deal with these emergencies and minimize the impact to their families and property.

Emergency Preparedness Week 2011, runs from May 1-7: “72 hours… Is your family prepared?” is the theme of this year’s campaign and is designed to encourage Canadians to be prepared to cope on their own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, while rescue workers help those in desperate need.

Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility.  While governments at all levels are working hard to keep Canada safe, individual Canadians also have an important role to play in preparing for emergencies.  Emergency preparedness experts consistently say that by taking a few simple steps, such as knowing the risks specific to your community, making a plan to help you and your family know what to do, and getting an emergency kit that includes some basic supplies to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in an emergency, you are taking a responsible and necessary step to protect yourself and your family from all types of emergencies.

Emergency Preparedness Week is held annually in every part of Canada, together with other levels of government.  The campaign is a collaborative effort of federal, provincial and territorial governments.  Information and additional tips on Emergency Preparedness Week is available at www.GetPrepared.ca.

Learn how to be prepared in Barriere – take the time to check out the Emergency Preparedness Week Display at Barriere AG Foods parking lot on May 6, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  This display will be hosted by Barriere Emergency Social Services (ESS), and will include displays from the Ambulance Service, the RCMP, area Fire Departments, and Search and Rescue.  There will be hot-dogs for sale at $1 each, and free drinks and cookies.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Basic emergency kit:

You may have some of these basic emergency kit items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food, water and blankets. The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case you need to evacuate your home. Whatever you do, don’t wait for a disaster to happen.

Easy to carry – think of ways that you can pack your emergency kit so that you and those on your emergency plan can easily take the items with you, if necessary.

* Water – two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)

* Food – that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (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