Eileen Grant keeps a go bag

Eileen Grant keeps a go bag

Add resiliency to day-to-day tasks, says Oak Bay emergency program co-ordinator

Oak Bay hosts emergency preparation workshop Feb. 21

Aside from bottles of water and food for three days, these days, emergency planners push recovery after a major event.

“We really are shifting our focus from immediate response through to recovery. Where we get to is, the recovery really starts the moment the event happens,” said Eileen Grant, manager of emergency programs for Oak Bay. “It may not be huge, but it may be catastrophic, you lose your house, you lose your business and what does that mean for next steps, making a living, getting your life back together; getting your family’s life back together.

“This idea of emergency preparedness shouldn’t be extraordinary, it should be every day.”

They want residents and businesses to think one step further when putting together emergency kits and other preparations.

“Some of the things that we’re talking about are things like tools, gloves, masks. Do you have the proper boots? Do you have the proper equipment to go down into your basement or wade through the street that is not in very good shape any longer?” she said. “Experience has told us that water systems are easier than some systems to get up and operating even with broken mains, so there might be hose laid … they might truck water to a point in the community. Containers are necessary then.”

Valuation maintenance and knowing what’s covered are primary failings for homeowners who simply renew insurance each year. Upgrades to a television mean upgrades in value.

“Often we get the question what about will my insurance company cover a hotel and alternate living arrangements? Most do, but we really need to understand if that’s in there. We really need to understand our insurance policy,” Grant said. “Really work with your insurance company to understand what your insurance is.”

The Oak Bay Emergency Program hosts a Disaster Recovery Information session on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 1442 Monterey Ave.

The session provides residents with information on how to identify risks, be personally prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of seven days and begin to recover.

“We don’t know when that disaster is going to happen and we really don’t know what it’s going to look like. One of the phrases we’ve started to use, because people say I don’t really have time, you need to take the time. Once you’ve taken the time then it just becomes the way you do business.”


All Oak Bay Emergency Program workshops and events are free. Pre-register by calling 250-592-9121 or email obep@oakbay.ca. Visit oakbayemergency.com for more information.