Emergency preparedness should be an ongoing effort

The recent earthquake on Haida Gwai plus Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of North America are reminders of the necessity of being prepared

The recent earthquake on Haida Gwai plus Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of North America are reminders, once again, of the necessity of being prepared for disaster.

“What’s the point?” some might ask. After all, a disaster is, almost by definition, a situation in which most preparations have been overwhelmed.

That doesn’t meant that it isn’t worth trying, however.

Experience has shown that even a small amount of preparation often can have a big payoff when things go bad.

Interestingly, many of those preparations are the same, regardless of the type of the disaster.

The North Thompson Valley is not a high earthquake area. Neither are we likely to be struck by a hurricane.

Forest fires are a hazard every summer, however. In the winter we get ice jams on the river, while in the spring there are floods.

Other potential disasters include spills of hazardous materials along the railway, highway or pipeline.

The first priority should be prevention. Governments can do a good deal towards reducing the effects of disasters through proper planning. The building restrictions on the Flats in Clearwater are a good example.

Individuals can do their part as well. People should assess their homes for vulnerability to such things as fire and flood, and then do what they can to reduce those vulnerabilities.

Once again, small changes can mean big differences.

The Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness has what they call their Get Ready Program. It takes about a half-hour to complete.

Step one is to identify the disaster hazards specific to your community or region.

Step two is to develop an emergency plan – what would you and your family do in a disaster?

Developing an emergency kit is step three. The Canadian Center for Emergency Preparedness has lists for kits for home or for vehicle – or one can be purchased ready-made.

The key is consistency. It is better to start small and keep at it than to try to do too much and then let it go.