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October is dedicated to emergency preparedness in Nanaimo

Drills and demonstrations presented throughout the month
Drawing from experiences from winter storms in recent years, the City of Nanaimo has dedicated the month of October to emergency preparedness. (News Bulletin file photo)

Disaster may or may not strike this month, but people living in Nanaimo should think about how to make sure they’re prepared either way.

Whether it’s fires, floods or severe shaking of the earth, the City of Nanaimo wants the population to be prepared for major mishaps and has once again dedicated October to raising awareness about emergency preparedness.

The month kicks off with Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9. The city has partnered with the National Fire Protection Association to share messages about the sounds of safety.

“The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week is ‘learn the sounds of fire safety,’” said Jodi Le Masurier, Nanaimo Fire Rescue deputy chief. “Be sure that everyone in your household knows the sound of the smoke alarm and the actions to take. When a smoke alarm beeps or chirps it’s time to act.”

A beep means get on your feet and get out of the house. A chirp means it’s time to change a smoke alarm’s batteries or replace a smoke alarm.

“If someone in your house is deaf or hard of hearing, install smoke alarms with strobe lights or other alert strategies,” Le Masurier said. “Plan and practise your escape route, choose your safe meeting spot outside, and test your smoke alarms to help keep your family safe.”

The week of Oct. 10, residents should get ready for major emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, storms and other catastrophes by preparing emergency kits, signing up for call alerts and creating emergency plans.

Because face-to-face presentations are challenging during the COVID pandemic, Nanaimo emergency management program has produced a demonstration video on how to put together an emergency preparedness kit.

“People can go online and see the presentation that in the past I would have given person to person,” said Karen Lindsay, Nanaimo emergency program manager. “Now it’s going to be online – how to make a kit as well as some links to different resources to help.”

Get ready to drop, cover and hold on Oct. 21 at 10:21 a.m. Resident can register to participate by visiting and then listen for the earthquake drill, which will be broadcast on local radio stations.

Nanaimo’s month of emergency preparedness wraps up Oct. 28 with a test of the Voyent Alert system.

“Part of it is education, to get people thinking about it,” Lindsay said. “We’re going into the winter seasons and the wind storms. With climate change … we’ve seen some severe weather in the past, so we’re just trying to get people thinking about it and even if they just start thinking about it and start getting these kits made and getting them prepared, we become more resilient as a community.”

The city will share emergency preparedness information throughout October through the city’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, through radio and print media and online at Residents who haven’t already done so can sign up to receive emergency alerts by visiting

“We don’t know when a disaster will hit, but there are steps we can take to be ready,” Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said in a city press release. “You can protect yourself and your family by preparing an emergency kit, developing an escape plan, signing up for the city’s Voyent Alert emergency alert system and knowing how to react in an emergency such as an earthquake.”

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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