What are you doing this Sunday, May 1st? That's the first day of Emergency Preparedness Week across the country. It would be a good opportunity for your family to update or make a plan for how you'd deal with a large scale emergency.

Experience has shown it's only a matter of time until you or someone you know will be impacted by an emergency. Last year, wildfires forced several hundred property owners from their homes in the Joe Rich and north Westside Road areas. Some were prepared, while others were left to scramble when evacuation orders were issued.

The Central Okanagan's Regional Emergency Program Coordinator says preparing in advance, helps to reduce the inevitable stress that rises should you get a knock at the door advising to leave your home.

Deputy Kelowna Fire Chief Travis Whiting adds, "Know the Risks, Make a Plan and Get a Kit. We continue to promote three steps to preparedness. In our area, with the risk of interface fires, it's important you and your family to know what you would do if you have to evacuate your home. The better you are prepared, the better we can support you and any resident that is impacted."

Says Whiting, "Emergency Preparedness Week is the perfect opportunity to sit down and talk about what you'll do if you're affected by an emergency. Review your family emergency plan and think about how your family will communicate with each other if you are in different locations or are separated."

"You should" he says, "be prepared to cope on your own for at least 72 hours during an emergency, as emergency responders and rescue workers will be dealing with the immediate threats. Update and refresh your family's emergency Grab and Go' kit. It should be easy to carry and contain important documents, medications, clothing and personal equipment to meet the basic needs for each member of your family. And don't forget to include your pets or family members requiring special considerations."

Start by visiting the Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca. You can subscribe to receive email information updates whenever the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is activated. Whenever any new information is released including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders, subscribers receive real time notices. You can also follow us on via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).

The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Prepared 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).


Deputy Chief Travis Whiting
Regional Emergency Program Coordinator 250-469-8760

Bruce Smith
RDCO Communications Officer

The following information is 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