Emergency Preparedness for Your Family
Each year, thousands of people face emergency situations that could change their lives forever. Don't be caught off-guard. Know the hazards in your area and take the time to assemble your family emergency kit. During an emergency, you and your family could be on your own for an extended period of time. Emergency services may not be readily available, as increasing demands are placed on responders. Therefore, it may take emergency workers some time to get to you as they help those in most critical need. As well, access to phones, gas, water, sewer, and electrical services may be cut off. Learning how to be personally prepared is vital.
Download a variety of guides and other information from PreparedBC by visiting their website.
For information about how to organize a Personal Emergency Preparedness briefing for your community or neighborhood, call our office (250-334-8890). In the meantime, download In It Together: Neighbourhood Preparedness Guide and get started.
These 5 info fact sheets (pdf) will help inform residents in risk areas about how to prepare for the possibility of flooding:
- Flood Risk and Personal Preparedness,
- Flooding: Am I in a Risk Area?,
- Being Prepared: Flood Proofing Your Home and Family,
- When Flooding Occurs, and
- Evacuating Your Home in Severe Flooding Conditions.
Sandbagging. Click here to watch a video that details how to properly prepare and use sandbags as a means of flood protection.
Water Flows and Reservoirs. Rivers and reservoirs are key to BC Hydro's generation system. Click here to access information on water use planning and the latest available data on reservoir levels and planned discharges of water.
Earthquake Preparedness Information
You can't prevent an earthquake; however, you can be prepared
- to avoid injury,
- to minimize damage to your home, and
- to survive without help for at least 72 hours after an earthquake.
Preparing now could save your life! An earthquake could hit B.C. at any time; so, start preparing by developing your family emergency plan. This link to PreparedBC can help you prepare: Earthquakes.The following provide details to help families prepare:
- Household Emergency Plan from PreparedBC
- Earthquake Survival Guide from Start Local,
- Home Preparedness - What to do in an Earthquake from US Insurance Net, and
- Earthquake Safety Tips: A Comprehensive Resource from Compliance and Safety LLC.
This map of Vancouver Island tsunami zones will help you respond to tsunami alerts and warnings.
Click on the image for a printable version of the map.
Go to http://www.tsunami.gov/ for current tsunami information.
Click here to subscribe to receive tsunami alerts.
Local Fire Departments
Because they are generally the first to respond to any emergency, it is important that residents know the roles and capabilities of their local fire departments. The following are links to fire departments in the Comox Valley:
Helping First Responders Help You
First responders and emergency crews can't help you if they can't
find you. Reflective address signs make a big difference.
Visit www.911reflectivesign.ca to learn more.
Business/Critical Services Continuity Planning
Many organizations-businesses, governments, not-for-profit institutions, and non-governmental organizations-must be prepared to deliver products and services during an emergency or crisis event to satisfy needs both internal to the organization and to the public or community at large. It is critical, therefore, that these organizations have plans in place that will lead them to being able to continue operating during the event. Having a BCP enhances an organization's image with employees, shareholders, and customers by demonstrating a proactive attitude. Additional benefits include improvement in overall organizational efficiency and identifying the relationship of assets and human and financial resources to critical services and deliverables.
A Business/Critical Services Continuity Plan includes:
- plans, measures and arrangements to ensure the continuous delivery of critical services and products, which permits the organization to recover its facility, data and assets, and
- identification of necessary resources to support business continuity, including- personnel, information, equipment, financial allocations, legal counsel, infrastructure protection and accommodations.
Click here to visit Public Safety Canada's overview of Business Continuity Planning.
Click here to download a template (MSWord) to help you develop a Business Continuity Plan for your enterprise.
Emergency preparedness supplies such as First Aid kits and supplies for your home and business are available through a number of sources.
- St. John Ambulance—Comox Valley Branch: 1742 Cliffe Avenue, Suite 84, Courtenay (St. John Ambulance website)
- Red Cross—Courtenay Office, 464 Puntledge Road, Courtenay (Red Cross website)
Living Water Smart
Living Water Smart is a BC government site designed to help residents plan and prepare during periods of water shortage.
Using Technology During a Disaster
We rely on technology more and more to keep in touch with our family, friends, and colleagues with a click of a button. But what happens in the event of a major emergency? Suddenly these tools can become vital in helping you and your family deal get in touch and stay informed. So here are some tips on the use of technology in an emergency:
- If possible, use non-voice channels like text messaging, email or social media. These use less bandwidth than voice communications and may work even when phone service doesn't.
- If you must use a phone, keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family. This will also conserve your phone's battery.
- Unable to complete a call? Wait 10 seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion. Note, cordless phones rely on electricity and will not work during a power outage. If you have a landline, keep at least one corded phone in your home.
- Keep extra batteries or a charger for your mobile device in your emergency kit. Consider getting a solar-powered, crank, or vehicle phone charger. If you don't have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card in your emergency kit.
- Keep your contacts up to date on your phone, email and other channels. This will make it easier to reach important contacts, such as friends, family, neighbours, child's school, or insurance agent.
- If you have a smartphone, save your safe meeting location(s) on its mapping application.
- Conserve your smartphone's battery by reducing the screen's brightness, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using. You never know how long a power outage will last!
- Emergency Management BC (formerly PEP) information and resources-http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery
- Emergency Social Services website-http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/volunteers/emergency-social-services
- Emergency Management in BC: Reference Manual-https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/training/reference_manual.pdf
- Public Safety Canada-http://publicsafety.gc.ca/
- The Technical Standards and Safety Authority at http://safetyinfo.ca has a wealth of information online to help you plan and prepare for a wide variety of emergency situations.
- Prepare your tourism operation using the information provided at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/travelsafe/tourism-operators.
- Emergency preparedness information from FortisBC: here.
- Flood Ready from Public Safety Canada-https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/flood-ready.html?utm_source=Canada&utm_medium=canada-feature&utm_campaign=fld-rdy
- Safety Information from BC Hydro-http://www.bchydro.com/safety
- For another look at earthquake preparedness and some interesting facts about earthquakes, click http://ammo.com/articles/earthquake-disaster-preparedness
- Environment Canada Weather Alerts for BC-https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
- Canadian Government information on emergency preparedness-www.getprepared.ca
- Vancouver Island Health Authority Boil Water Advisory-www.viha.ca/mho/water/boil_water
- Global Incident Maps-http://www.globalincidentmap.com/
- Community of Oyster River Evacuation Operational Guideline
- Following a disaster, the provincial government may declare the event eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA). To learn more go to http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-response-and-recovery/disaster-financial-assistance.
- Noting that the processes outlined are based on a model in England, Essential Guide to Flood Preparation and Planning provides information that is also relevant to local concerns.
- The American Red Cross maintains a very detailed library of emergency/disaster response information at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster-safety-library
- The US National Tsunami Warning Centre