In support of the next Emergency Preparedness Week (May 4-10, 2008), I encourage you to start building an essential personal safety kit for you and your family in the event of a disaster.
Week 1 – get your container
Week 2 – water. While we all take it for granted, even a simple power outage can mean we do not have easy access to water.
Week 3 – packaged foods, canned meats, dried fruit, manual can opener, and infant supplies. We need to plan for a least a three-day supply of food for each family member, however up to 10 days is even better.
Week 4 – communicate with family members outside of your area. Set up some time this week to discuss with your family who your out-of-area contact person will be and post these numbers near your phone. You can print out-of-area phone number cards off the pep website at www.pep.gov.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/Emergency_Contact_Card.pdf
Week 5 – add more food items to your kits and don't forget to add some food for your pets.
Week 6 – source out a portable radio and batteries. Canadian Tire has a couple of radios that would be great for your emergency kit. One is a wind up radio, the other is a radio/flashlight combination, and both items require no batteries. The radio/flashlight sells for around $25.00.
Week 7 – Learn about hazards. Know the hazards in your community. Find out if the area where you live is vulnerable to landslides, flooding, interface fires or other threats such as hazardous material spills. Also, do a home hazard hunt to make your home safer. Secure appliances and heavy furniture and move beds away from overhead objects like heavy mirrors and windows.
Week 8 – Prepare a first-aid kit that includes prescription medications, eyeglasses, bandages, sterile gauze pads, tape, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide and other items such as over-the-counter pain pills.
Week 9 – Give every family member specific safety tasks to do in an emergency. For example, designate one person to be in charge of turning off electricity, one to collect the emergency container, one to track down family members and make sure people with disabilities or special health needs are provided for. Make sure someone is also delegated to looking after any pets.
Week 10 –
Make this project a fun, family project; involve your children and other family members. Talk about the reasons for being prepared – "Be Prepared, not Scared".
NOTE: Emergency kits are available for sale now at a few retailers. They're on the BC Hydro website.