Emergency Preparedness Week – is your family ready

Know the risks, make a plan and get a kit, said Deputy Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting.

  • Apr. 28, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Sunday May 1 is the first day of Emergency Preparedness Week across the country.  It would be a good opportunity for your family to update or make a plan for how you’d deal with a large scale emergency.

Experience has shown it’s only a matter of time until you or someone you know will be impacted by an emergency.   Last year, wildfires forced several hundred property owners from their homes in the Joe Rich and north Westside Road areas.   Some were prepared, while others were left to scramble when evacuation orders were issued.

The Central Okanagan’s Regional Emergency Program Coordinator says preparing in advance, helps to reduce the inevitable stress that rises should you get a knock at the door advising to leave your home.

Know the risks, make a plan and get a kit, said Deputy Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting.

“We continue to promote three steps to preparedness,” said Whiting.  “In our area, with the risk of interface fires, it’s important for you and your family to know what you would do if you have to evacuate your home.”

The better people are prepared, the better the fire department can support you and any resident that is impacted.”

“Emergency Preparedness Week is the perfect opportunity to sit down and talk about what you’ll do if you’re affected by an emergency,” said  Whiting. “Review your family emergency plan and think about how your family will communicate with each other if you are in different locations or are separated.”

People should be prepared to cope on their own for at least 72 hours during an emergency, as emergency responders and rescue workers will be dealing with the immediate threats.  Update and refresh your family’s emergency ‘Grab and Go’ kit.  It should be easy to carry and contain important documents, medications, clothing and personal equipment to meet the basic needs for each member of your family.  And don’t forget to include your pets or family members requiring special considerations.

Start by visiting the Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca.  You can subscribe to receive email information updates whenever the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is activated.  Whenever any new information is released including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders, subscribers receive real time notices.

The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Prepared BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs.  A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).

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