Friday, September 2, 2016

Are you prepared? 1

Climate change is not just about getting warmer, it is about severe weather, more storms, more upheaval, and more emergencies. I live on the West Coast and one day, we will have a major earthquake, but as I write it has not happened yet, however, there is a major storm raging outside. I have not lost power or the trees haven’t blown over in my yard. However, my neighbour had a tree come down, just missing is roof but it landed on his patio. In addition, there has been a rash of house fires in the area, so all of this started me thinking about being prepared in an emergency.

What is an emergency? According to The BC Emergency Program Act an emergency is defined as “a present or imminent event or circumstance that is caused by accident, fire, explosion, technical failure or the forces of nature and requires prompt coordination of action or special regulation of persons or property to protect the health, safety or welfare of a person or to limit damage to property”

The dictionary definition of emergency is:
A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action to limit damage to property and/or people.

Every jurisdiction will have their own definition of the word emergency, because if an emergency is called special procedures, laws and assistance can kick in to help the individuals and community affected. So the officials are very careful about declaring a state of emergency, as an individual you should be prepared. For any type of emergencies.

Generally speaking, emergencies can be grouped into three types. The first are Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, volcanos, blizzards and forest fires. The second type of emergencies are man-made disasters such as fires, terrorist attacks, chemical spills, transportation accidents, etc. The third type of emergencies are public health issues such as infectious diseases, SARS, influenza, tuberculosis, polio and plague.

It is important for all of us to be prepared, but if you live on your own, and many seniors do, it is more important to be prepared because, an emergency or disaster often strikes quickly and without warning – like the Boy Scouts, you must be prepared. You may have to evacuate your neighborhood or be confined to your home. If a disaster strikes in your community, it may take some time for emergency workers to help you. On average, it is recommended that you should be prepared to cope on your own for a minimum of 72 hours. There is help however, during an emergency, your safety is of utmost importance and ultimately your responsibility

There are four principles of being prepared, they are:
·       Be informed - knowing the risks within your community
·       Make a plan
·       Prepare an emergency kit
·       Maintain your kit)

Know the risks and hazards specific to your community and home in BC we have the following risks:
·       Earthquakes. Forest fires, Hazardous goods spills, Water contamination, Severe weather, Rain and wind storms, Blizzards, Mud slides, Flooding, Tsunamis (off shore or near shore
Every region has its own risks, some risks are greater than others, it is important that you know the risks and that you have a way to stay updated during an emergency.

Tomorrow, I will look at what is involved in preparing an emergency plan.

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