The first several moments of an emergency are often the most chaotic. The province is hoping a new preparedness program will help British Columbians think ahead and be ready in case of evacuation orders and natural disasters.
Ahead of emergency preparedness week, Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, announced that the province would be partnering with retailers to make it easier for people to buy disaster supplies in stores to create emergency kits ahead of time.
“Industry, retailers, all levels of government and all citizens have a role to play in emergency readiness,” Rice said in a news release.
Ready-made shopping lists will be available in stores that join the program, for kits to be kept in people’s homes, cars and workplaces.
Retailers can customize these lists to the specific hazards in their area by choosing to feature one or more of the five emergency risks: earthquake, wildfire, flood, power outage and severe weather.
London Drugs and Save-On-Foods are the first two retailers to get on board with the program.
The new program is based in-part off a PreparedBC survey, which found personal laziness and apathy were primary reasons why people don’t have an emergency kit or plan, according to the government. Lack of knowledge of what to include and a lack of time to prepare are additional challenges that prevent people from establishing an emergency plan and assembling an emergency kit.
However, when disaster strikes, emergency workers may not reach everyone immediately, or even for several days. The ministry of public safety recommends families be prepared to take care of themselves for a minimum of 72 hours, at all times.