Everyone’s Preparedness is Essential
Large scale emergencies, including those that have the potential to cause evacuations, are a reality for all communities within the qathet Region. The qathet Regional Emergency Program promotes that everyone takes time with family, neighbours, and guests to make and share household emergency plans and stay connected with up-to-date emergency information.
Your household emergency plan should reflect the uniqueness of your home’s location and identify what you need to either shelter-in-place (stay in your home) for up to 72 hours or to immediately evacuate your neighbourhood or community. It is ideal to have a least two options to get you and your household members to a safe location. This may also include ensuring your household has a means of transportation, either a personal vehicle or a rideshare. Public transit may be available, but only if it is safe to do so.
Pro Tip: Vehicles should always have at least a half a tank of fuel to get you where you need to go.
In addition to your household emergency plan, prepare a ‘grab-and-go’ kit for each household member including pets so that you can be ready at a moments notice. Quick access to personal items like non-perishable food and snacks, water, clothing, important documents, first aid kit, flashlight, children’s items, for example, will ease stress and provide comfort in a difficult time. Resources for creating or updating your emergency plan and a comprehensive list of grab-and-go kit items are available at www.qathet.ca/emergency-preparedness.
Pro Tip: Photocopy important documents (insurance and identification for example) and store them in your grab-and-go kit.
In recent qathet history, most emergencies have been small in scale but, nevertheless, some hazards have the potential to quickly escalate such as a hazardous materials spill or a wildfire. The dedicated firefighters and first responders, serving the Region, provide emergency response for fire and rescue, medical emergencies, and management of hazardous incidents. It is crucial that you remain aware of potential hazards and risks and do your part to prevent emergencies.
‘How will I know if there is an emergency in my community?’
In some instances, you may be alerted by a notification team or local media of an emergency allowing time to prepare, while other situations may call for an immediate evacuation by frontline responders. It is important to stay tuned to reliable and official sources of information such as local radio stations, qathet.ca, and local government’s websites and social media.
Excellent sources of local evacuation information are found in the Community Evacuation Guides that are individually tailored for Lund and Area, City of Powell River, Wildwood, Tla’amin Nation, south of town, Savary Island, Texada Island, and Lasqueti Island. Each guide provides detailed information on household emergency planning resources, local map, grab-and-go kit list, and a section on knowing what to do before, during and after an evacuation, and an invitation to join the Community Notification System. The full series of eight brochures along with other emergency planning pamphlets are available at the City of Powell River, qathet Regional District, and Tla’amin Nation offices.
In the case of safety incidents including wildfire, hazardous material spill, or evacuation notice, a communication system is necessary to effectively notify residents who may be impacted. In April 2021, the qathet Regional Emergency Program launched a new Community Notification System. This system is designed to send important official emergency notifications during emergencies or other important events. The service is free for everyone and allows you to sign up online to receive customized alerts via text message, email, and voice message.
This new Community Notification System requires residents to create a new registration including individuals that registered prior to April 2021. Individuals who were previously signed up for the Community Notification System will not be automatically enrolled in the new system.
“The Community Notification System strengthens the Regional Emergency Program officials’ ability to communicate with residents when it matters most,” said Ryan Thoms, Manager Regional Emergency Program. “This service allows for critical communication with the public and provides individuals with the information needed to stay safe or take precautions during hazardous or emergency situations.”
Community members are encouraged to sign up and input their information and notification preferences today at www.qathet.ca/emergency-preparedness and click ‘Enroll Now’.
Emergency preparedness is essential and a key component in protecting lives and property. For more information contact the qathet Regional Emergency Program at 604-485-2260 or email [email protected].