Plan for the worst and hope for the best

Nobody wants to be in the middle of a disaster, but it happens more often than we'd like it to.

Unexpected disasters seem to be a way of life for us these days. The stakes get higher as we cram more people and technology into smaller spaces.

We hadn’t gotten over the flooding in Calgary and southern Alberta before we’re reeling from news of a train derailment in Lac-Mégantic with a devastating fire that has claimed several lives, to a commercial jet bursting into flames in San Francisco, and now unprecedented flooding in Toronto.

You may at this point be thanking your lucky stars that you live here, but I’m sure you weren’t saying that when the wildfire at Spatsum Creek was threatening to blow into Ashcroft earlier this year.

Yes, we have our own brand of disasters here, with the potential for many more. If we don’t have railways running through our communities, then we have highways. And maybe airports or air strips. The good people in Lac-Mégantic have unfortunately discovered this week that disasters can arrive from afar, and change your life within minutes.

You can’t be prepared for everything – and reports are beginning to reveal that the derailment in Lac-Mégantic could probably have been avoided with a little more careful attention to detail – but planning and preparation will make getting through a disaster a bit easier.

Some people will never “get it”, while others never leave home without a “grab and go” bag in the backseat of their car.

If you want more information on how you can prepare for emergencies, go noodle around the Provincial Emergency Preparedness website: http://embc.gov.bc.ca/em/index.html It has tips and phone numbers and other information that will get you started.

Most communities in BC these days have done at least one assessment of real and potential hazards facing them and have devised a plan, including an evacuation plan, to deal with them.

You may think it’s all a waste of time until you find yourself waist deep in the swamp, or up the creek without a paddle.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of sanity.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal