Faced with a natural disaster or emergency, could you sustain yourself in your home for a week, maybe two or three?
That’s the question Oak Bay’s Emergency Program (OBEP) co-ordinator asks in preparation for National Emergency Preparedness Week, May 5 to 11.
While common advice in years past had residents preparing themselves for 72 hours, we know now that’s simply not sufficient.
“We know today that nothing is going to happen in the first 72 hours,” says OBEP’s Eileen Grant. “We tell people to be self-sustaining for at least a week, and even two or three weeks, because it takes that long for people and systems to begin functioning again.”
While regional research suggests three main factors prevent people from getting prepared – the task seems overwhelming, the cost and lack of storage – a streamlined preparation process is making it easier than ever.
- Attend the spring info session: OBEP’s final free Disaster Recovery Information Session for spring is Tuesday, May 14 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2121 Cedar Hill X Rd. Learn to identify the risks, be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least seven days, and begin to recover. The session are free, but reserve your seat by calling 250-592-9121 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. During Emergency Preparedness Week, check out the municipal hall lobby for the latest information.
- Buy insurance. Insurance can give you back control, and the right insurance can provide you with the resources to ensure you have shelter, food and money to provide for the necessities, beginning almost immediately, Grant says. Make sure it’s appropriate and provides the coverage you need.
- Get prepared: “In the event of an emergency, we’ll be asking people to shelter in place and if it’s safe to do so, stay there. So the question becomes: What do you have there now?” Grant says. Start by creating your Grab & Go Bag with what you have in your home already – it will alert you to what you have on hand and additional supplies you will need to add to over time to shelter in place. Remember to always rotate newer items for older ones. Don’t forget your prescriptions, important documents and pet supplies!
- Already prepared? This is the perfect time to check out and update your emergency plans and kits!
- Help others: Reinforce your own knowledge and preparation by sharing it with others! Volunteer to help OBEP build a disaster-resilient community through education, emergency communications and support to those directly affected by an emergency or disaster. Even better: OBEP provides all the training and supplies required to do the work! Email email@example.com or call 250-592-9121.
“If we’re not prepared we’ll be at the mercy of the disaster and the chaos,” Grant says. “If we’re prepared, we can take back that control: We’ll know where people are, what resources we have available and we’ll have a plan to move toward recovery, even if it’s just to know where our first place of safety is. Being prepared gives us peace of mind and hope for the future.”