Having a plan eases anxiety in the midst of a crisis
Thursday May 10, 2012 — Ryan Rogers
Many North Americans residing on the Pacific Coast began considering their preparedness for an emergency after devastating earthquakes and tsunamis ripped through Sri Lanka in 2004 and again in Japan in 2011.
The devastation of these Indonesian nations has set led many people to consider if they’re ready for a disaster, whether it’s an earthquake, flooding or a house fire, with a support network and strategic emergency preparedness plan.
The Burnaby Emergency Program Office and the Burnaby Access Advisory Committee are presenting an open meeting to share hints and tips to being prepared in the event of an emergency.
On June 4 at the Tommy Douglas Library, special guest speakers will present Emergency Preparedness for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, which will discuss minimizing hazards, assembling emergency supplies and developing a family reunion plan, among other topics.
Co-presenter Craig Langston will share his story of having an emergency preparedness plan and how setting up a support network of neighbours was essential during smaller-scale crises like a heat wave and snowstorm in 2008 that affected his apartment building’s elevator and accessible public transportation.
Craig has been working with the B.C. Coalition for People with Disabilities since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina exposed how unprepared government and emergency organization officials in New Orleans, were to support its community’s most vulnerable people.
“A number of us in the Lower Mainland began to question how prepared our city officials and management were,” he says.
Having an emergency plan helps put people at ease, as well.
“It certainly gives people a sense of empowerment,” he says. “They know if something does happen, that they know how to begin that process, instead of being fearful of ‘what if.’ ”
The session will discuss and offer tips for emergency planning for someone with intellectual or mobility issues, whether it’s during a house fire, heat wave or earthquake.
Family information and support worker for the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion Carol Stinson says many older parents who are supporting individuals have expressed interested in workshops of this nature.
“We need to think about being a little bit more prepared for earthquakes and other things that might happen,” she says, adding if the Fraser River, for example, were to flood, roadways and power lines could be seriously affected.
“I’m really happy to see they’ve organized this,” she says. “It’s a great idea.”
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