If an emergency official was on your doorstep and told you that you had 15 minutes to leave your home, would your family be ready? Or would you be scrambling through your house grabbing anything within reach?

This scenario has been a real one for thousands of Central Okanagan families as a result of previous emergencies. For those who prepared Grab and Go' kits in advance, it was easier than it was for those families that didn't.

The Central Okanagan's Regional Emergency Program Coordinator says preparing in advance, helps to reduce the stress that happens when an evacuation order is issued and for their safety residents are asked to leave their homes.

Deputy Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting adds, "By taking a few simple steps now, when you and your family are not under the pressure of the clock, you can better prepare to face a range of emergencies, anytime, anywhere. You should be ready to cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, while first responders and rescue workers fight the immediate threats and help those in urgent need."

A Grab and Go' kit should be easy to carry and contain important documents, medications, personal equipment and medications and basic personal needs for each member of your family.

Whiting says, "Canned or dried food and at least two litres of water per person per day should be a part of your emergency kit. It's a good idea to replace these items with fresh stock at least once a year."

This is a good time for all Central Okanagan residents to review and revise their family emergency plans or if you don't have a plan, get your family together to make one."

Whiting reminds residents that the Regional Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca has a Be Prepared section with links to useful information to help your family prepare for any number of emergencies that could impact you. You can also subscribe to receive email information updates whenever the EOC is activated. Subscribers receive real time notices whenever any new information is released from the Emergency Operation Centre including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders.

The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Emergency Management BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs. A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).

In the event of an emergency and activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).



Deputy Chief Travis Whiting
Regional Emergency Program Coordinator

Bruce Smith
RDCO Communications Officer

The following information provided from Public Safety Canada GetPrepared.ca website:
Creating your Family Emergency Plan

Every Canadian household needs an emergency plan - it will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency. Remember, your family may not be together when an emergency occurs.

As part of the plan, there are a number of things you should discuss with your family, including:

How will you contact each other in an emergency? Where will you meet if you can't go home?
How does your children's school/day care communicate with families during an emergency?
Is there someone in your neighbourhood who may be at risk and need extra help during an emergency?
For more information, visit GetPrepared.ca, where you can download an emergency plan or complete it online. It doesn't take long to do, and could make a world of difference.

Once complete, keep the plan in an accessible spot, such as your emergency kit. You may also want to keep a copy of the plan in your car or at work.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

You may have some of these basic emergency kit items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food, water and blankets. The key is to make sure they are organized, easy to find and easy to carry (in a suitcase with wheels or in a backpack) in case you need to evacuate your home. Whatever you do, don't wait for an emergency to happen before getting prepared!

Make sure your kit is easy to carry, in case you need to evacuate your home.

A basic emergency kit includes the following:

Water two litres of water per person per day (Include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order)

Food that won't spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (remember to replace the food and water once a year)

Manual can opener

Flashlight and batteries

Wind up or Batterypowered radio (and extra batteries)

First aid kit

Special needs items prescription medications, infant formula or equipment for people with disabilities

Extra keys for your car and house

Cash include smaller denominations such as $10 bills (travellers cheques are also useful) and change for payphones

Emergency plan include a copy of it and ensure it contains intown and outoftown contact information