Last year’s devastating wildfires and flooding in B.C. have Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (COEO) urging you to be prepared for potential disasters.
Emergency Preparedness Week is May 1–7, the perfect time to inspect emergency kits and replace outdated food, prescriptions, water and other items, according to Sandra Follack, COEO’s emergency program coordinator.
“Being prepared to look after your family for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency is something we need to do each year,” said Follack.
It also provides an opportunity to have family members practice an emergency plan so that everyone understands what to do.
“If the risk to public safety is imminent, there may not be much advance notice for an evacuation of an area,” explained Follack. “First responders may only have minutes to notify residents to gather family and belongings and leave the area. That’s why having a prepared emergency plan and a ‘grab and go’ kit is so important.”
Follack pointed out that people living near waterfronts, or previously flooded creeks and streams should have the tools and equipment they need to protect their properties. Homeowners can help protect their homes from wildfires by using guidelines from the FireSmart program:
- Move firewood 10 to 30 metres away from the home;
- Clean roof and gutters of flammable leaves and needles;
- Remove tree branches that are within three metres from the ground;
- Trim or prune trees or vegetation that overhang structures.
Preparedness information, checklists, and videos are available on the COEO website.