The recent 7.7 earthquake off the coast of northern B.C. has brought emergency preparedness to the forefront for local residents, and that’s a good thing, according to Mike Helmer, deputy fire chief and Abbotsford Emergency Program manager.
“We are encouraging the community to act on the heightened awareness by ensuring that their emergency plans are up to date, and they are aware of relevant hazards that pose a risk to their area,” said Helmer.
“The more prepared we are, the sooner we can respond in an emergency situation. If we increase the number of individuals who commit to preparing ahead, we can increase the resiliency of our city in the case of an emergency.”
The BC Shakeout Drill on Oct. 18 was a timely emergency drill that the city and its agencies participated in. All departments had the opportunity to review disaster response plans and run through evacuation and emergency procedures, prior to an earthquake actually occurring.
“This was a great practice situation, and reinforces the fact that it can happen here. However, we are never 100 per cent sure what to plan for when dealing with a disaster, so it is important to be ready for anything, year round,” added Helmer.
Residents are encouraged to have an emergency plan in place, build an emergency kit that will sustain their households for a minimum of 72 hours and ensure all members of the family know what to do in an emergency situation. Helmer points to many good resources online including www.getprepared.ca as well as the Abbotsford Emergency Program’s website at www.abbotsford.ca/emergency_program
For more information on emergency preparedness check out the resources and links at abbotsford.ca/emergency_program.