Sunday, October 12, 2008

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Meeting
October 29, 2004

Establish an out of province contact number
Ensure everyone knows a safe meeting place
Emergency supplies

The Scout’s and Guides motto of Be Prepared! could have been the theme of the Pod Leaders meeting held October 29th at the Community House.
Larry Hildreth, overall Pod Coordinator of Metchosin ably directed an evening which included useful information, excellent food and friendly neighbourhood networking.
A video presentation described a series of steps to prepare yourself and your family for unexpected emergencies followed by an excellent dinner of BBQ brisket, squash with rosemary, Wallace potatoes, a superb salad medley and the perfect fall dessert of baked Glen Rosa apples, prepared and served by Emergency Operations, Pod and Community House volunteers. I don’t know how the bears missed the Hammond orchard, but the apples were delicious!

1) Analyze what types of accidents (fire, earthquake, snowstorm, flood) are likely to occur and what you can do about them.
2) Check your insurance policies and know the extent of your coverage. Take photos or videos of your most valued possessions and store important papers and irreplaceable treasures in a safe deposit box or in an alternate trusted location.
3) Establish an out of province contact number of a relative or friend that is to be used by family members to reach each other. In a serious emergency provincial phone lines could be down or overloaded. Make sure children memorize this number and carry it with them at all times and ensure their schools have this number as part of your child’s contact information.
4) Develop an emergency plan with your family. Define hazards within the home, such as heavy objects hanging above a bed or a bookcase that could come loose and cause serious injury. Remove or bolt them to the wall. Remove wood stored against the house-it’s a fire hazard. Consider covering your windows with a film that prevents them from shattering and causing serious injury. Check to see if your walls are bolted to your foundation, bolts should be placed every 6 ft. Check for loose masonry on your chimney. Practice fire drills and plan escape routes. Agree upon a safe meeting place so you will readily know who is or isn’t accounted for. In the case of earthquakes, know the safest locations in each room: under a sturdy object such as a table and inside hallways and doorways. Know where to turn off water and electricity and have a wrench placed near your gas or propane inlet (call a professional to restart gas or propane). Strap down the hot water heater, it can be a valuable source of clean water, as is the water in the toilet tank. Check your stored chemical products, are they in spill-proof containers? Never store bleach and ammonia products together, they combine to form toxic fumes. Keep several small fire extinguishers around rather than one large one. Fill gallon containers with water and set them in the bottom of your freezer, this will help keep your food frozen longer and provide extra safe water (if needed, use 4 drops of bleach per gallon to purify water-let sit 30 minutes). Keep an extra supply of infant, pet and livestock food on hand and sufficient medical supplies to last you at least one week. Keep fit and take a first aid course.
5) Prepare emergency survival kits. One main kit for the house, one for each of your vehicles and Grab and Go bags under each bed. Each Grab and Go bag should carry a first aid kit, flashlight and food and water for 12 hours. Keep a pair of sturdy shoes under your bed. A garbage pail will store a large quantity of emergency supplies, consider filling it with:

flashlight and batteries
radio and batteries or crank radio
first aid kit
candles and matches/lighter
extra car keys and cash (including coins/cards for telephone)
important papers (identification for everyone, personal documents)
food and bottled water (it is recommended to have 4 litres/per person/day)
clothing and footwear (one change of clothes per person)
blankets or sleeping bags (one blanket or sleeping bag per person)
toilet paper and other personal supplies
backpack/duffel bag (or something else in which to carry the emergency survival kit in, in case you have to evacuate)
whistle (in case you need to attract someone's attention)
playing cards, games

Keep a separate kit in your car with the following items:

sand, salt or kitty litter
traction mats
tow chain
cloth or roll of paper towels
warning light or road flares
extra clothing and footwear
emergency food pack
axe or hatchet
booster cables
ice scraper and brush
road maps
matches and a 'survival' candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
fire extinguisher
methyl hydrate (for fuel line and windshield de-icing)
first aid kit with seatbelt cutter
blanket (special 'survival' blankets are best)
6) Know your neighbours and check on anyone who might need your help.

Living in Metchosin, many of us feel almost complacent in our ability to come through an emergency. However, taking the time to discuss, plan and implement emergency preparedness with your family will give extra protection to you and your loved ones in the event of a crisis. Like an insurance policy, it will give extra peace of mind.
Consider becoming active in your pod or revitalizing one that has become dormant. It’s a fun and constructive way to meet your neighbours and establish closer ties with your community. Contact Larry Hildreth at 474-1865 for assistance.
If you need a warm and congenial meeting place for a pod gathering, the Metchosin Community House (478-5155), with kitchen and bathroom facilities, is available for only $5.00/hr.
For more information on Emergency Preparedness contact Charlie McNeil at 474-0201 or view

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