An emergency can strike at any time – whether it’s a flood, fire or an earthquake. While the majority of British Columbians know that it’s important to prepare for these emergencies, many don’t take the steps to make that preparation a reality. Having a stocked emergency kit is key in surviving the aftermath of these disasters. For the basic contents of a kit, everyone knows you should have survival items that last at least 72 hours such as water, food, a wind-up or battery powered flashlight and first aid tools. However, there are several important items that should be included in an emergency kit that many forget, or possibly never even think of. Examples of such items are as followed:
– A portable cell phone charger. In many emergency situations, you will lose power. Having a portable cell phone charger, preferably a wind-up charger, ensures you can keep in touch with your loved ones and stay within communication with the rest of your community for important information.
– Prescription medications. If you have a medication that you need to take daily, having additional medication stored away in a kit for emergency use is essential. If it’s not possible to keep additional medication on hand, you can prepare and pack an accurate description of your health conditions, prescriptions, treatments and name of your doctor to have readily available for emergency responders.
– Prescription glasses. If you wear prescription eyeglasses or usually wear contacts, it’s smart to keep an extra pair of glasses in your kit.
– Important family or personal documents. You don’t want to anxiously fumble through papers during an emergency. Storing copies of documents such as insurance numbers, birth certificates, photos of family members, vehicle registration and licenses, bank account information and passports will help you confirm your identity and keep your family on track!
– Extra cash. During some emergencies, ATMs may not work and point of sale machines may not be able to connect to banks.
– A change of clothing and footwear for each household member. Depending on the severity of the emergency, you could be out of your home for days or even weeks. Make sure to pack each change of clothing with your regions differing climates in mind.
– Pet supplies. Your furry companions are important members of the family! Make sure they are prepared as well with items such as food, water, a pet first aid kit, ID tags, leashes, medications and ownership papers.
– Small toys and games. An emergency that forces you out of your home can cause a lot of stress and fear. Including items like cards, books and puzzles for both you and children can provide some distraction and comfort.
For those who need assistance with their emergency kit on a whole, St. John Ambulance has the expertise and variety of pre-filled kits to guide anyone to becoming emergency ready. Call them at 1-866-321-2651, visit your local St. John Ambulance location, or purchase a kit online at shopsafetyproducts.ca.
WHY:The Great British Columbia ShakeOut, an annual event where millions of people practice how to “drop, cover and hold on” during earthquake drills, is October 17. This is especially important for British Columbia, since compared to the rest of Canada, the province is considered at a higher risk of a large-scale earthquake. Practicing reaction skills during these earthquake drills are very important, but we also want to highlight keeping safe during the aftermath of an earthquake. According to a survey done by the BC government in 2017, only 41 per cent of British Columbians have a complete emergency response plan set out for their household.
St. John Ambulance spokespeople would be happy to provide quotes and extra information on building an emergency kit and to speak on the importance of earthquake response and preparedness anytime, whether it’s the day of the ShakeOut on October 17, or before or after the day.
The Great ShakeOut is done worldwide, but this is British Columbia focused.
ShakeOutBC is October 17, 2019.