If an emergency happened today, would YOU be ready?Emergencies can strike at any time, with very little warning. Being prepared is critical as it may take time for help to arrive. Be ready for a variety of challenges:
- Family members may be in different locations when an event occurs.
- Communication networks may break down.
- Electricity, water or gas service to your home could be disrupted.
- Roads could be blocked or closed.
- Regular sources of food, water and gasoline may not be available.
By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies
- Know the risks – hazards vary depending on where you live, you could be near a low lying coastal area, near a river or steep slope or in a heavily treed area. Familiarize yourself with hazards that could affect you; knowing which ones you face will influence how you prepare.
- Make a plan –since disasters can happen at any time, prepare a list of contacts, individual roles during a disaster and meeting places can help reunite families in the event of separation.
- Prepare a kit – aim to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of an emergency, ideally up to one week. Prepare kits for home, vehicle and workplace and for pets. Kits should be checked at least once each year and a good time to do this is during Emergency Preparedness Week.
Create your household or family emergency plan
By taking time now to prepare emergency water, food and other supplies, you will be able to provide for yourself and your family during an emergency. Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare an emergency kit for home, work, school and vehicle.
- Identify at least two out-of-area contacts.
- Pick a meeting spot in case you're separated from family members.
- Assign someone to collect children from school or daycare if you can’t.
- Identify what official sources you’ll get information from.
- Learn how to turn off utilities.
- Store enough emergency water for your family for a minimum of three days, ideally up to one week.
- Store enough emergency food to support your family for a minimum of three days to one week.
- Identify any special needs, such as medications, mobility or other assistive devices, baby formula or pet food and make sure a proper supply is on hand.
- Secure your space in case of earthquake.
- Create grab and go bags for every member of your household and store them in easily accessible locations.
Prepare your home for disasters
Make your home safer to be in during an earthquake or other disasters by finding and correcting any weaknesses. Conduct a home hazard hunt and look for:
- Unsecured cabinet doors – consider child proof or hook and eye latches.
- Hanging objects – use closed hooks or earthquake putty to secure the corners of pictures or mirrors.
- Heavy electronics or furniture – you can use flexible nylon straps and buckles for easy removal and relocation. Top-heavy furniture should be secured to the wall.
- Hot water tanks - securing your water heater is one of the most important actions you can take in preparing your home for an earthquake. You can protect this valuable resource by securing your water heater to the wall studs.
What to do during an earthquake
If you feel the ground start to shake, “Drop, Cover and Hold”. DROP to the ground, take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. Remain where you are after the shaking stops as there may be aftershocks.
If you are indoors
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall.
- Do not stand in a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside - most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave during an earthquake.
- DO NOT use elevators.
- In a crowded store, do not rush for exits and move away from display shelves.
- If in the kitchen, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
If you are outdoors
- Move to a clear area and stay away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
- If you are on a sidewalk near buildings, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
- If you are in a wheelchair, if possible stay in it and move to cover, lock your wheels and protect your head with your arms.
In the car
- Stop as quickly as safety permits; avoid being near or under buildings, trees, overpasses or utility wires and stay in the vehicle. Proceed cautiously once shaking has stopped and avoid damaged roads, bridges or ramps
After the earthquake
- Leave the power off until the damage is repaired.
- Unplug any appliances with broken lights or damage.
- If you see downed power lines in or near your neighborhood, consider them energized and stay away.
- Beware of items falling out of cabinets or shelves when opened.
- Stay away from chimneys or walls made from brick or block as they could be unstable, or use a fireplace with a damaged chimney; it could start fires or let in poisonous gases in your home.
For a more detailed check list check out Emergency Management BC