Emergency Preparedness Week is May 2-8, and the regional district and the city are reminding residents to understand the risks, have plans in place and check that emergency kits are in good order. (Photo submitted)

Emergency Preparedness Week is May 2-8, and the regional district and the city are reminding residents to understand the risks, have plans in place and check that emergency kits are in good order. (Photo submitted)

Nanaimo residents reminded about the reasons for Emergency Preparedness Week

Residents advised to understand risks, create plans, make a kit

In an emergency, a lot of people might need help at the same time, so the more families that are well-prepared, the better.

Emergency Preparedness Week started Sunday, May 2, and continues until May 8, and both the regional district and the municipality are offering reminders about the importance of being ready for a number of different kinds of emergencies.

Residents are urged to know the risks, have plans in place, and be prepared with emergency kits.

Jessica Popein, owner of Nanaimo-based company West Coast KidzKits, was inspired to start her business after learning about requirements for children in daycare to have access to emergency preparedness kits. She creates kits tailored for children, keeping in mind that certain kinds of natural disasters could potentially separate families.

“With earthquakes come downed power lines, damaged roads, fallen trees, those types of things, and understanding those risks that come along with earthquakes means that it may be a day or two, in reality, that you would not be able to get to your child,” Popein said.

She said Emergency Preparedness Week can be a useful time to spread important messages, as British Columbians don’t regularly feel earthquakes shaking the ground to motivate them to be prepared.

“Our plates are locked and we very rarely actually see activity seismically,” she said. “So without that push from government and media and outreach from businesses like mine, I think it can easily fall by the side where it isn’t top of mind.”

The Regional District of Nanaimo is organizing a series of Zoom webinars this coming week to try to provide information, offering emergency-preparedness prizes as incentive to sign up. The webinars – on household emergency preparedness, fire safety tips and neighbourhood emergency preparedness – will be held May 3, 4 and 5; for times and registration information, visit http://getinvolved.rdn.ca/nepp.

Tyler Brown, RDN chairperson, said in a press release that Emergency Preparedness Week is a good time to create, review and update emergency plans.

“The theme this year is … ‘be ready for anything,’ which is very fitting here on the West Coast where we can face a number of critical situations including earthquakes, floods and wildfires,” Brown said. “Having a plan helps us be prepared and self-sufficient until emergency responders can provide assistance.”

The City of Nanaimo, meanwhile, noted in a press release that although natural disasters might be out of anyone’s control, there are ways to reduce risks and impacts of emergency situations. This week the city is encouraging residents “to take concrete actions” to be better prepared, such as making a kit or checking it.

“We realize now more than ever how important it is to prepare for the unexpected,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog in a press release. “Many City of Nanaimo residents have started to build an emergency kit and there is no time like today to complete it. A few simple actions will help you build upon all of the hard work you already have in place.”

Both the RDN and the city use a platform called Voyent Alert to provide residents with emergency information via smartphone app, e-mail, text or phone. To sign up, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/alerts and http://rdn.bc.ca/voyent-alert.

The B.C. government provides emergency preparedness information at www.gov.bc.ca/preparedbc and West Coast KidzKits can be found at www.westcoastkidzkits.ca.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo gets prepared for the Great B.C. ShakeOut

READ ALSO: Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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