For emergency Preparedness Week, everyone is being advised that having a supply of food, water and other provisions for each person and pets for 72 hours is only a starting point.
“The longer you can be self-sufficient, the better,” says Naomi Gourlay, emergency support services director for the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
“Many emergency management agencies have moved to telling their communities to become prepared for one to two weeks as emergency services may not be readily available as a result of a regional disaster and it may take longer to move supplies to a devastated area. 72 hours is a minimum.”
Two weeks of supplies is the new standard.
“Folks should think about having meals for a minimum of three days for the number of people in their family,” she said. “As far as utensils, I like to think about it in terms of camping – get some old cutlery, a manual can opener, etc. and store all that stuff in a safe place together.”
Getting prepared means knowing the region and its risks, getting everyone involved, making a plan and getting a kit.
Fifty-seven hazards are identified in B.C., such as earthquakes, floods, severe storms, hazardous material spills and fires.
And neighbourhoods should work together.
“A team of neighbors with a variety of skills will have a much greater chance of coping following a disaster than an individual on their own,” she said.
“A good benchmark is to step outside on your porch and look 360 degrees around. Any of the houses you can see are your neighbours and those are the people that you might need to count on in the event of an emergency.”
A neighborhood team can be comprised of different units with each person taking on specific functions. And know neighborhood hazards and resources.
For information on emergency kits and what to put in them, go to getprepared.ca.