Emergency Preparedness Week is May 2 to 8, and it’s important for all households in BC to have an emergency kit, including first-aid kit, St. John Ambulance BC and Yukon advise. (Photo: supplied)

Emergency Preparedness Week is May 2 to 8, and it’s important for all households in BC to have an emergency kit, including first-aid kit, St. John Ambulance BC and Yukon advise. (Photo: supplied)

Emergency Preparedness Week – Are you prepared for a disaster?

Each household should have a 72-hour emergency kit - St. John Ambulance

Emergency Preparedness Week is a call to action for all Prince Rupert and region residents, Jennifer Rice parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness and North Coast MLA said, on May 1.

“This week, May 2 to 8, is Emergency Preparedness Week, which is more than just a day of acknowledgement or awareness,” Rice said. “It’s a call to action.”

Planning ahead can help protect loved ones and reduce stress in the event of any kind of emergency, Rice said.

“In fact, when the pandemic hit just over a year ago, I think we would have all liked to be a little more prepared.”

Along the North Coast hazards to keep in mind are earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and severe weather. During Emergency Preparedness Week, all British Columbians are encouraged to make a plan, compile a kit, and build resiliency in their homes and communities.

“This week is a good time to make sure you’re ready for any emergencies that might happen in your community,” Rice said.

According to St. John Ambulance BC and Yukon, only 46 per cent of B.C. residents said they have an emergency kit, and only 39 per cent have prepared a plan.

All British Columbians are being pushed to follow three simple steps to become prepared for any emergency, St. John Ambulance BC and Yukon stated.

“If someone wants to become better prepared for emergencies, we always recommend these three steps: make a plan, purchase or build an emergency preparedness kit, and get first aid trained,” Christopher Chan, learning and development officer and first aid instructor with the organization.

“With those three steps in place, you will gain an increased confidence to be able to protect yourself as well as your loved ones in the event of an emergency that may keep you trapped in your home or force you to evacuate.”

Emergency preparedness should include details such as dealing with potential hazards inside and outside your home, safe exits from your home, a meeting place for your household, out-of-town emergency contact information, pet care, and more, the ambulance organization stated.

They suggest an emergency kit should contain enough supplies for a minimum of 72-hours with such items as food, water, first-aid kit, wind up or battery-powered flashlight and a radio. Personalizing the kit to suit who it will support is an important factor, so add prescription medication, solar cellphone charges, family documents, clothing and pet supplies. Facial masks and hand sanitizers are recommended during the pandemic.

“Being prepared just makes good sense. It is our responsibility to ourselves and our families to look out for our safety and well-being,” Ralph Smith, medical first responder with St. John Ambulance said. “Assisting individuals in incidents like the 2017 wildfires really demonstrated that communities have a requirement to be prepared for emergencies. The risks of not being prepared can include loss of property, belongings, potential injury to family members, friends, even pets.”

First aid training is essential for everyone, the organization stated.

“With first aid training, you will gain the knowledge to properly use the tools in an emergency kit and feel more confident to take action in the event that someone is injured during an emergency – or during everyday life. First aid training classes teach the crucial skills of CPR and AED use and how to treat injuries such as burns, sprains, cuts, head trauma, and severe bleeding.”

K-J Millar | Journalist
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