Following last year’s massive flooding and fires, the province saw first-hand how devastating natural disasters can be.
Along with earthquake, interface wildfires and floods also comprise the “big three” risks Pitt Meadows families face – meaning it will pay local families to be prepared.
“Emergency preparedness is a year-round activity but we set aside a week to highlight what residents need to do to prepare themselves for an unexpected emergency,” explains Barbara Morgan, City of Pitt Meadows Emergency Program Co-ordinator.
- Know your risks
Here in Pitt Meadows, while flooding and wildfires may be more likely to occur, an earthquake has the potential to cause the most damage. “So, when we talk about emergency preparedness, we focus on earthquakes because if you’re prepared for an earthquake, you’re prepared for all the other hazards,” says Morgan, who last year deployed to the Central BC to help emergency recovery efforts.
- Get a kit
If you’ve camped, you have an idea of what it will take to be self-sufficient following a natural disaster – shelter, food and water, clothes and hygiene items, for sure, but don’t forget things like pet supplies, first aid kit and prescriptions, Morgan says, recommending people prepare to be on their own for at least three days, but ideally for a week or more.
- Make a plan
Fifty-five per cent of Pitt Meadows residents work outside of the community, many crossing a bridge to do so, so a plan to reunite with family is vital. How will you reconnect and let loved ones know you’re safe? The solution is to designate an out-of-province person as your point of contact. The first person to call in says where they’re going, so subsequent callers know they’re safe and where to find them. If phone lines are down, cellphone and texting may work, but know the location of payphones in the area , as they run on a different system. And for more vulnerable community members, like those relying on home care, “I always recommend people talk to their service providers and ask, ‘What is your plan?’” Morgan says. Getting to know your neighbours is also key – do you have plumbers, electricians, doctors or nurses nearby? “It comes down to neighbours helping neighbours.”
Coming up for Emergency Preparedness Week in Pitt Meadows:
- Residents of Pitt Meadows can purchase emergency kits filled with high-quality items will be available for purchase at cost.
- Emergency Preparedness and Safety Fair – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 12 at the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall. Talk to the experts about preparing for a natural disaster, as well as issues such as wilderness safety, first aid, and find medical kits, battery-powered or hand-crank radios and flashlights, solar batteries and more for purchase.
- Two workshops: Emergency Preparedness – May 7, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Pitt Meadows Senior Centre; and Emergency Preparedness & Fall Prevention – May 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., including lunch, at the Pitt Meadows Fire Hall (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Learn more at pittmeadows.bc.ca