Many people in the Lower Mainland were out of power this weekend and were not prepared for a long-term power outage. This raised the question, what are the basic necessities a person or family needs in the event of a disaster?
Drex spoke with Karen MacPherson, CEO of St John Ambulance of B.C. and Yukon, today.
St. John Ambulance offers simple advice for households looking to put together an Emergency Preparedness plan.
Make a plan.
Step 1: Identify the Risks
-Make a list of all the types of disasters that are most likely to affect your home and community
-Locate potential hazards in and outside your home.
Step 2: Protect your home and family
-Teach your family how to prepare for an emergency.
-Reduce hazards in and around the home
-Locate gas, electrical, and water shut-offs and make sure all able-bodied adults and older children know how to turn them off. Attach instructions to each utility in your home that details the proper method for shutting off.
Gas meter – ensure each family member knows how and when to turn off the gas. Keep a wrench in your home kit or near your gas meter. Keep the area around your gas meter clear.
Hot water tank – ensure your hot water tank is secured with steel strapping and studs.
Electrical breaker panel – ensure each family member knows where the electrical panel is located and how and when to turn it off.
Water shut-off – ensure each family member knows how and when to turn off your home’s water supply.
Step 3: Protect your assets
-Safeguard important documents and other assets.
-Assign one or more family members to collect and copy your family’s records.
-Store family records in at least two locations – one in a fire retardant and waterproof safe or container; the other in a safety deposit box or with an out-of-town relative.
-Purchase disaster insurance for your home. Find out what types of insurance are available, and weigh the costs and benefits.
Step 4: Prepare emergency plans
Plan the steps you will take in the event of a disaster.
– Share your plan with your household.
-Designate an out-of-area emergency contact.
-Determine alternative exits.
-Designate at least two family meeting places – one right outside your home, and a second one depending on your family’s needs (near work, etc.).
-Prepare an evacuation plan.
-Teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1.
– Plan for children, pets, and people with special needs.
-Learn about emergency plans at work and school.
Step 5: Prepare emergency kits
– Prepare emergency grab-and-go kits for each member of your household with supplies to sustain each person for at least 72 hours. Store your kits somewhere dry and accessible and make sure everyone knows where they’re located.
-Assemble or purchase an emergency kit for your vehicle.
-Assemble or purchase an emergency kit for your work.
Step 6: Stockpile and store emergency supplies – enough to last at least 72 hours.
-Food and water.
-First aid supplies.
-Medications and medical supplies.
Step 7: Review and update your household plan regularly.
These are just a few things you can do to prepare yourself for a disaster. For a downloadable checklist of items you’ll need, click here.
To learn more about Emergency Preparedness Kits, click here.