Hazards vary so knowing which ones you face will influence how you prepare. Within the Fraser Valley Regional District there have been three natural hazards identified as most likely to happen and to be prepared for; floods, landslides and wildfires. Flood are naturally occurring events that can happen at any time, the most severe floods typically occur in the spring and fall. Landslides are a special concern where residential development is at the base or on the side of a steep slope, residents should be vigilant of nearby waterways which can influence a slide. Wildfires most often occur in the dry summer months outside of residential areas, but sometimes they can threaten homes, businesses and infrastructure. No matter what the event, developing a plan for your family’s safety by preparing in advance for evacuation OR sheltering in place is important.
More often than not, evacuations are not required. Area residents may either report to an Emergency Support Service (ESS) reception centre or shelter in place depending on their individual situation. If a reception centre is required it will provide short-term service and be a safe gathering place for people displaced from their homes. Here they will find volunteers trained to help during the first 72 hours. If at all possible sheltering in place is usually preferred by residents. Most people find being in their own home provides a level of comfort and control. As well, most neighbours support each other through these rough times adding a sense of community connection.
How to prepare to shelter in place? There are general guidelines to help you prepare but remember, each household has their own unique requirements as well. Each household should have the following on hand:
- Water, 4 litres per person per day to last 3 days;
- Non-perishable food, 3 day supply;
- First Aid kit and personal medication;
- Flashlight, hand crank or have extra batteries;
- Radio, hand crank or have extra batteries;
- Cell phone with extra power supplies or solar charger;
- Paper towel, toilet paper, personal hygiene products;
- Garbage bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties; and
- Board games, cards, books, etc. to help pass the time.
Don’t forget if you have a pet to be sure to have extra water and food for them.
The Fraser Valley Regional District will keep their website as up to date as possible with any alerts or information that you will need to be aware of. You can also call their office at 604-702-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a good idea for all family members to have emergency kits. A family emergency plan should also be made and practiced regularly. And don't forget your pets! You need to make sure you have a plan for them too.