It was a case of preaching to the choir on Tuesday, Aug. 7, as a Canadian Red Cross representative spoke to South Cariboo residents about the importance of being prepared for an evacuation.
Jesse Bowen, an emergency management coordinator, laid out a three-step plan to a crowd of eight in the District of 100 Mile House’s council chambers.
“Know the risks, make a plan, create a kit,” she told the rows of nodding heads.
Many of those in attendance chimed in with their own tips and tricks, sharing lessons learned from 2017: the worst wildfire season in B.C. history.
But the meeting was about more than wildfires, Bowen stressed the importance of being prepared for a number of potential disasters that might suddenly force a person from their home – floods, spills, crashes, diseases, etc.
“One of the things we are seeing is that disasters are happening more and more often and they’re getting a little bit bigger,” she said. “When you’re in shock, you don’t think logically.”
She’s heard stories of people grabbing their wedding picture but forgetting their purse in their rush. All the more reason to be prepared, she said.
After listing some important items to have packed, some attendees chimed in with frustrations and concerns about getting information during an emergency.
To these concerns, Bowen suggested staying informed through official channels and doing your best to verify all information you hear.
“Do not trust what you see on Facebook,” she said.
“People mean well, they do it because they want to help, but they’ve heard this and somebody’s worried about that and then it becomes inaccurate and it spreads panic.”
For more information on how to be prepared in an emergency, go to getprepared.gc.ca.
Over 45,000 were evacuated in B.C. last year
45% of all natural disasters in Canada between 2000 and 2014 happened in Western Canada
26% happened in Eastern Canada
26% happened in Central Canada
What to pack
– photocopies of important documents – identification, banking information, deed to home
– spare set of house and car keys
– three days worth of medication
– clean change of clothes and shoes
– non perishable food
– manual can opener
– hygiene products
– 30-hour candle
– water purification tablets
– duct tape
– scissors or a camping knife
– old reading glasses
– pet supplies
– toys or items to comfort children
What to plan
– leave your emergency pack in your car or by the front door
– keep written instructions to disassemble any special equipment
– agree on a rendezvous point
– have an out-of-town contact to check in with in case of separation
– register with the Cariboo Regional District
– register with the Red Cross so they can give a “safe and well message” of your choosing to worried friends or family who may call