Being prepared isn’t just for scouts

It doesn't take a lot of effort to be prepared, but it sure saves a lot of misery in the event of an emergency.

Emergency! Emergency!

Two awful words that no one wants to hear, but it happens. It might mean a unexpected call to the plumbers or a trip to the hospital. Or it could mean the evacuation of an entire town.

Unexpected doesn’t have to mean unprepared.

This week, May 3-9, is Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada.

It always brings back fond memories of living in Taylor, where Tool Man was the Municipal Emergency Preparedness co-ordinator and I was – what else? – the media liason. We had a committee to plan for emergencies, and every year at this time we would put together a table of information on what to do in an emergency for the public to pick up. We also brought a few magazines because few, if any people, ever showed up.

And then, one day, BOOM! The unexpected happened and there was no time to read the manual. The town had to evacuate to nearby Fort St. John. I was in Dawson Creek at the time and if anyone knows their geography, they’ll know that Taylor is right between DC and FSJ on the highway. It was a long drive on a wintery Rolla/Clayhurst backroad to get to FSJ that day.

Studded winter tires and a full tank of gas made the difference: you learned to be prepared up north.

I’m sure the TNRD is doing a grand job at being prepared for our towns, but in some ways it’s a shame that they took over the Emergency Preparedness function from the municipalities. It may not have seemed the case when the local Emergency Social Services people were looking for volunteers, but at least the idea of emergency preparedness was here in the community.

What do we have to worry about here, you might ask? Brushfires, derailments of train cars hauling toxic chemicals, plane crashes, rock slides…. Unlikely, but possible.

Even if the emergency plan doesn’t go as practiced and you forget to turn off the stove on the way out the door, your brain remembers the basics. And that’s all you need to stay safe.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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