Developing a Family Disaster Plan
Forty years ago, the residents of the ACRD saw first hand the harmful effects a tsunami has on a community. Unfortunately, the world has now experienced a tsunami that is beyond our experience.
The devastating Asian earthquake and tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 that killed thousands of people should serve as a warning to all of us who live in coastal communities. We, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, live in an active earthquake zone and scientists tell us it is not a matter of “if” but “when” the next earthquake and tsunami will occur here.
Natural disasters do happen and it is always when we least expect them, so we must keep them in mind and be prepared should the worst happen.
While the responsibility of a community response to a disaster lies with the ACRD Emergency Program, it is important for each and every individual to prepare themselves and their families for a disaster.
A family disaster plan should include a list of contacts including an out-of-area contact person. Every family member should be prepared for a disaster or emergency and know what to do. Practicing emergency drills and ensuring everyone knows when and how to turn off gas and water can be invaluable in a disaster. At least one family member should have first aid training.
Everyone should be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours following a disaster such as an earthquake. Important items to have in emergency kits include: minimum three days of food and water per person, money, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, candles, waterproof matches, first aid supplies, extra prescription medications, personal toiletry items, cooking utensils, blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing and identification.
Securing heavy appliances and furniture can prevent or reduce injury and property damage during an earthquake. Securing a hot water tank can prevent the loss of a valuable source of water.
Talk to your family about a disaster or emergency … what to do, where to go, who to contact, what household services to turn off, what to take with you, what about your pets, what about friends, relatives and neighbours?
Emergency planning and preparedness should be tested at least twice a year. Some of the things you might do are: