Officials urge B.C. residents get prepared before the next emergency

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WatchBC Hydro says most BC residents don't have an emergency preparedness kit

If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit at home you’re not alone.

BC Hydro has just done a survey that found a majority of British Columbians don’t have one, despite the massive storm last December that caused an unprecedented amount of damage.

The storm brought down a record number of trees and power lines and left more than 750,000 customers without power, causing BC Hydro’s biggest-ever recovery operation.

Emergency planners say they worry most people aren’t ready for the next disaster. They say most British Columbians don’t even have an emergency kit.

“I’m one of them,” said Donna Kendall, a Saltair resident. “I’m a procrastinator.”

“We actually just looked at them the other somewhere and it was the cost so then we thought we could make one ourselves,” said Melissa Lafontaine, a Nanaimo resident.

BC Hydro is urging people to get prepared. On Wednesday, the utility showed the display it will be showcasing at community events in the coming months calling on people to get ready.

“We’re going to get more storms. They’ll be more frequent and they’ll be more intense so we’re reminding our customers to always be prepared,” said Ted Olynyk, a BC Hydro spokesperson. “You never know when they’re going to happen. We know with climate change we have to expect more of these events.”

The region’s emergency services planner says it’s important to have a kit close to one of your home’s doors.

“If you’re given an hour to evacuate you’re worried about gathering your family’s personal possessions,” said Catherine Morrison, Emergency Services Planner for the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“Compiling an emergency kit at that time is not at the top of your priority and you’re not thinking of every item you need to have in a kit.”

Morrison says you should start with a communication plan in case phone service is impacted. You can find a blank one on Prepare BC’s website.

And she says many items can be compiled from home to avoid a big cost upfront.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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