EDITORIAL: Are you prepared?

As the scope of the catastrophe in Japan unfolds, here in B.C. we should pause to reflect upon two things – first, the tragic loss of life to the earthquake and tsunami, and secondly, our own level of preparedness for such a natural disaster.

As the scope of the catastrophe in Japan unfolds, here in B.C. we should pause to reflect upon two things – first, the tragic loss of life to the earthquake and tsunami, and secondly, our own level of preparedness for such a natural disaster.

Experts have long been warning that the B.C. coast sits on a major fault line. It is a matter of when, not if, a killer quake hits this area.

There are serious lessons to be learned from this most recent crisis.

In the days that followed Japan’s quake and tsunami, people were searching for water and food.

Clearly, thousands of households – including those that escaped damage – were simply not prepared to handle such an emergency with the most basic supplies and plans.

Are we?

The answer is, for the majority, no.

The ramifications of a major quake will be the same here as they are in Japan. Stores will be damaged, and those that aren’t will be sold out of essential supplies in hours. Transportation will be severely interrupted. Telephone and Internet is likely to be down.

So… do you have a survival kit in your home, with all family members familiar with its contents?

Do you have a complete first aid kit, and sufficient knowledge to deal with basic trauma?

Do you know how to turn off the gas in your home? Do you have alternate shelter in case your home is uninhabitable?

Do you have a family plan as to what to do if a quake hits while you’re separated?

Do you at least have enough water to last three days, for your entire family?

Do you have enough food on hand to last that long, or longer?

If you answered no to any of the above, you have a choice.

You can become prepared now, or ignore this latest warning – at your peril.