Household Preparedness Guide

Step 1 - Know the Risks 
Hazards vary depending on where you live. Below is a list of the top 10 risks in BC. Familiarize yourself with the ones that could occur in your area by contacting your local authority for more information. Knowing which ones you face will influence how you prepare. Thinking ahead will help reduce the stress of an emergency. 

1. Earthquakes 
2. Tsunamis 
3. Floods 
4. Landslides 
5. Avalanches 
6. Severe Weather 
7. Power Outages 
8. Hazardous Materials Spills 
9. Wildland Fires 
10. Disease Outbreaks 

Step 2 - Make a Phone List 
Make a list of family and emergency numbers and ensure everyone in your household has a copy. The list should include at least one out-of-area contact number in case local phone and mobile networks are overwhelmed. Ideally, choose someone who lives outside BC and would not be affected by a major event, such as an earthquake or fire.
Call the out-of-area contact if you find yourself separated from family and advise family members to do the same so everyone stays connected.
TIP: In an emergency, use text messaging, email or social media to communicate. Data-based services are less likely to experience major interruptions.

Step 3 - Pick a Meeting Place 
Decide where you’ll meet family members during an emergency. Gathering at home is the ideal, but if you can’t get there, agree on a secondary location.
TIP: If you leave your home, put a sign in the window advising you’re okay, where you’ve gone and how you can be reached. 

Step 4 - Plan for Your Children 
If you have young children, you need to consider what happens if you can not make it to their school or daycare. Identify people who could pick them up in the event you can not. Ideally, this is someone who is home during the day and within walking distance to where your child will be. Notify the school or daycare of who’s authorized to pick-up your children and make sure your kids know as well. 
TIP: Talk to your kids about emergencies. Be honest and straight-forward. The more they know in advance, the better they’ll be able to react and cope.

Step 5 - Know Where to Get Information 
Contact your local government emergency management program to find out how alerts and instructions will be shared during an emergency ie. via social media, sirens, radio or television. Make sure to seek out credible sources so you can make good decisions during an emergency. 

Connect with us 
@EmergencyInfoBC for alerts 
@PreparedBC for preparedness information 
@BCGovFireInfo for wildfire updates 
@DriveBC for road conditions 

BC Forest Fire Information 

Emergency Information for alerts 
Preparedness tips.

Step 6 - Know How to Turn Off Utilities 
Do you know where your electrical panel, water and gas valves are located? Do you know how to turn them off? Learn how in case of leaks or if you’re instructed to do so by local officials. 
IMPORTANT: If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas valve and leave immediately. Once the gas is shut off at the meter, DON’T try to turn it back on. Only a registered gas contractor can do that safely.

Step 7 - Store Emergency Water 
Water is the most important item to store. You will need at least four litres (one gallon) of water per person, per day. A family of four will need 48 litres of water for a three-day supply. Also take pets and people with unique needs into account. Check your water supply every six months and replenish or renew as needed. 
TIP: Refresh your water supply when the clocks spring forward and fall back. You can also set a reminder on your phone.

Step 8 - Stock Emergency Supplies 
Have enough non-perishable food to support your family for at least three days. If the power is out, use the food from your fridge and freezer first, followed by your pantry. Ensure you have a suitable food supply for babies, toddlers and pets.

Step 9 - Consider Special Needs 
Medical records may be difficult to access during a disaster. If you rely on a prescription, aim to have a month’s supply available at all times. If you can not, keep a copy of your prescription, dosage and name of the prescribing doctor with your emergency supplies. 
Other things to consider: 
If you rely on a motorized wheelchair, have a manual back-up. 
If you have a guide or service dog, ensure they’re part of your preparations. That includes a three-day supply of water and food, a leash and collar and copies of vaccination records. 
If you use hearing aids, stock extra batteries. 
If you have difficulty communicating verbally, have a writing pad and pencils handy.

Step 10 - Secure Your Space 

Earthquakes can topple bookcases and heavy furniture. If you live in an earthquake zone, here are a few steps to follow: Secure tall, free-standing furniture, such as bookcases, china cabinets and shelving units to wall studs using “L” brackets, corner  brackets or anodized aluminum moulding. 
Earthquakes have a tendency to knock pictures and mirrors off the walls. Consider moving all framed pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and chairs. 
To prevent cabinet doors from flying open, secure them with either a push latch or a pull latch. 
Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers can move significantly during an earthquake. Use strong strapping and ratchets or other connectors to secure them. 
Secure your water heater with straps that anchor the tank snugly to the wall. Contract a licensed gas fitter to install a flexible gas line. 
TIP: If it is taller than it is wide, secure it!

Step 11 - Create a Grab-and-go Bag 
Do not count on being home when there’s an emergency. There’s also a chance you may have to evacuate your house on short notice. To prepare for these possibilities, create grab-and-go bags for your home, work and vehicles. 
What to include: 
Food (ready to eat) and water 
Flashlight and batteries, headlamp 
AM/FM radio 
Seasonal clothing 
Pen and notepad 
Cell phone charger 
Personal toiletries 
Small first aid kit 
Extra pair of glasses or contacts 
Cash in small bills 
Local map 
Out-of-area contact card 
Copies of important documents, family photos, etc. Consider storing copies on a USB stick 
TIP: Always keep your vehicle’s gas tank half full in case you’re required to evacuate on short notice.

1. Identif y the risk s for your region. 
2. Make an emergency phone list with at least one out-of-area contact. 
3. Pick a meeting spot if you’re separated from family members. 
4. Assign someone to collect your children from school or daycare if you can’t. 
5. Identify what official sources you’ll get information from. 
6. Learn how to turn off utilities. 
7. Store enough emergency water for your family. 
8. Store enough emergency food to support your family for a minimum of three days. 
9. Identify any special needs, such as medications, and make sure a proper supply is on hand. 
10. Secure your space. 
11. Create grab-and-go bags.

For more information, contact Dan Heaton – Westbank First Nation - Emergency Management Co-coordinator, 250-769-4999.