This week marks Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada and the City of Vernon is raising awareness to the importance of having an individual and collective plan in place.
The city has had to implement many changes amid the ongoing and rapidly evolving public health emergency brought on by COVID-19 and acknowledged planning for any other emergency at this time may feel overwhelming.
However, once those plans are in place, Vernonites will likely feel better prepared and in control if an emergency situation takes place.
“Having an action plan in place can make a big difference in how fast and how well we are able to personally respond to an emergency,” Vernon’s Emergency Program coordinator Sue Saunders said.
“If each household, business and neighbourhood takes steps to develop an emergency plan, our community as a whole becomes more resilient and able to withstand and recover from difficult situations.”
Saunders said an emergency plan is basically a step-by-step guide of actions that need to be taken in case of an emergency.
“This may look different for people who live in different parts of the city, or are in different types of buildings,” she said. “That’s why PreparedBC has developed recommendations for how to build plans for a variety of situations and structures… they’ve also developed tips for seniors, people with a disability and owners of pets or animals.”
First thing, know the hazards.
What hazards are likely to occur in the area and what vulnerabilities exist.
In Vernon, the city has ranked spring flooding, wildland urban interface fires and dangerous goods spills as the highest concerns within city limits.
“Building a plan and sharing it with those you live or work with are just the first steps in emergency preparedness,” said Saunders.
“If you already have a plan in place, consider what next steps you can take this week, such as scanning important documents to a secure, cloud-based server or putting them in a safety deposit box; making care plans for your pets; making a list of sentimental items in your home; or writing down a list of medications, important papers and household reminders and storing it on your fridge or in a safe place where you’ll remember to grab it, if necessary.”
The City of Vernon is encouraging its residents to prepare for any emergency and what better time to do that than during Emergency Preparedness Week, which runs May 3-9, 2020.