EDITORIAL: Are you prepared for a disaster?

Recent windstorm reminds us of our fragility when it comes to the elements

If disaster struck tomorrow, would you be ready? If recent storms have taught us one thing, it is that residents are woefully unprepared for any sort of natural disaster.

Examples of 9-1-1 operators being inundated with phone calls from residents demanding to know when their power would be back on, and insisting someone pay for the contents lost in freezers, is exactly what not to do in the event of a storm. That phone line is only supposed to be used in the event of a real emergency or when someone’s life is in danger. Some soggy hamburger and the Internet being down, in our books, does not classify as an emergency.

While the West Shore seemed to miss the brunt of Mother’s Nature fury and didn’t see the record-breaking power outages the lower mainland had to contend with, next time we may not be so lucky.

People’s expectations for immediate service leave us shaking our heads. Quite frankly, it is an embarrassment when compared to other events going on around the world.

In the event of a natural disaster, or an Act of God as insurance companies like to call them, the government expects you to be on your own for a minimum of 72 hours. Yes, that is three days you are expected to be on your own and during that time you are expected to have clothing, food and water for every member of your household, including your furry companions.

In the event of a major earthquake, help will not be knocking on everyone’s door at that 72-hour mark. The limited services available through local municipalities and agencies will be overrun with demand. And if you think that big box store will supply you with fresh bread and eggs, think again. No one will be working in the rubble of those buildings.

So as winter approaches, bringing more powerful storms to an area that is already deemed to be at high risk for serious earthquakes, it’s a reminder for residents to become prepared.

Talk to your families, friends, and neighbours. Have a plan if disaster strikes, because you will be on your own.

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