Re: Don’t make me use my evacuation plan (Gazette, Aug. 2)
As we’ve seen in central B.C. this summer and Fort McMurray last year, evacuations are ordered when the danger is imminent, which may leave no time at all to gather family, pets, personal items, etc. Once you evacuate, your home and its contents may not be there when you are allowed to return.
I spent a week in Kamloops at the Emergency Reception Centre, opened for fire evacuees. Thousands of evacuees arrived, some with only what they were wearing, having had an hour or less to get out and not having prepared a grab and go bag.
Solution: Prepare a grab and go bag. This could be a small, carry-on luggage bag, or a backpack and would contain important things that you would need, such as:
– A USB memory stick, containing copies of all your important documents (driver’s licence, passport, house/car insurance, photos of all your family and pets, your house and its contents, contact information of your family, doctor, insurance company, bank, etc.).
– Clothing such as socks and underclothes for a week, a change of shirts/pants, extra pair of shoes, so if you’re living on the floor of a hockey arena during the disaster, you have a change of clothing.
– Eye glasses and a spare pair.
– Personal hygiene kit – having your own soap, shampoo, shaver, tooth brush, deodorant, etc. will be a blessing.
– A compact first aid kit for any scrapes or cuts sustained in your exit.
– A small radio (preferably hand-crank powered) to listen to broadcasts of the disaster, what routes are open, and where to seek help.
– Spare house and car keys.
– A crank flashlight and a whistle.
– Extra prescription medications as you may not be able to refill them during a major disaster.
– Some cash in small bills and coins to buy essentials or use in vending machines.
– And a charger for cell phones, tablets, etc.
These are just some of the suggested items you would need if displaced from your normal living conditions. This bag should be stored in a place that is readily accessible and each member of your family should have their own personalized bag. Most of these items are already in your home.
Time spent in preparation is seldom wasted.