May 02, 2013 - 10:48 AM
Your doorbell rings. When you answer, the emergency responder outside quickly tells you to gather your family and leave because of a threatening emergency. Are you ready?
Two possible outcomes to this scenario have played out over the years in the Central Okanagan. You either feel the adrenaline rush, yet confidently respond with each member of your family running through your prepared emergency plan, or you could panic, start grabbing items you think you might need or might want to save and forever regret that you weren’t ready to respond.
The Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program encourages you and your family to invest some important time May 5 to 11 during Emergency Preparedness Week and get prepared.
Know the risks. Make a plan. Get a kit. These are the three simple, easy to remember steps that every Central Okanagan family should act on during Emergency Preparedness Week.
Organizing your family should also include a visit to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre website. That’s where you can join more than 1,200 other people who have already subscribed to receive email information updates whenever the centre is activated in response to any emergency in the Central Okanagan.
“The website proved to be an incredibly valuable direct information source during last year’s various flooding and wildfire events across the region,” emergency program coordinator Jason Brolund says. “Subscribers received real time notification whenever any new information was released from the Emergency Operation Centre including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders. In fact, during the Trepanier fire more than 55,000 unique visitors checked out the site, from within the Central Okanagan and as far away as Australia, Mexico and Switzerland.”
He adds, “You’ll also find links on the website to a wide variety of information that will be useful as your family makes its own emergency plans, from floods to wildfires and severe weather-related emergencies. Emergency Preparedness Week gives everyone a chance to prepare and take stock of their family’s needs now, in a calm, stress-free and rational way.”
Central Okanagan emergency responders and Emergency Operations Centre teams and volunteers like Emergency Support Services train and prepare throughout the year in the event they are called into service. Brolund says, “We encourage all families in the region to join in their own preparations during this important time of year.”
The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Emergency Management BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs.
A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).
Brolund adds, “In a large-scale emergency, responders may not be able to reach you for at least 72 hours. Being prepared with a kit for you and your family will allow you to remain self-sufficient and safe, while emergency personnel respond to the most urgent needs in the community. You can make or purchase an emergency preparedness kit with materials that will help support your family. It should include non-perishable food, water, a manual can opener, flashlights, a battery power or wind-up radio, cash in small denominations and special items your family might need like diapers or medications.”
More information is available on making an emergency kit at www.redcross.ca/prepare or you can purchase one online at www.shop.redcross.ca or at the Canadian Red Cross office at 124 Adams Road in Kelowna.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013