Do you have a home emergency preparedness kit? Do you have a grab-and-go bag? (Photo credit: St. John Ambulance)

Do you have a home emergency preparedness kit? Do you have a grab-and-go bag? (Photo credit: St. John Ambulance)

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Are you ready to leave with very little notice?

It’s wildfire season and an evacuation order could come down very quickly

The people of Lytton said the fire took less than 15 minutes to reach the town centre, in some cases there were reports of neighbours knocking on doors and saying “get out now.”

Would you be ready to leave if something like that happened here?

Ever since I was a kid I have been scared of house fires. The fire chief would come to class and teach us about smoke and evacuation plans, sometimes I still lose sleep worrying about what I would do if the fire alarm woke me up in the middle of the night. In an attempt to ease that worry I have a go-bag packed. And, taking a note from the Fort McMurray fire that saw people stranded on the side of the road, or in long lines at the gas station, I also keep my car full of gas.

Emergency Preparedness BC recommends having a household emergency kit that contains:

•non-perishable food for 3-7 days with a manual can opener

•water, four litres per person per day•phone charger, battery bank or inverter•battery-powered or hand-crank radio

•batter-powered or hand-crank flashlight•extra batteries•first-aid kit and medications

•personal toiletries and items such as glass or contact lenses

•copy of emergency plan and important documents such as insurance papers

•cash in small bills

•garbage bags and moist towelettes for personal sanitation

•seasonal clothing, sturdy footwear, emergency blanket

•whistle

•help/ok sign to display in your window during a disaster (can be found online at: www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/images/preparedbc_emergency_help_ok_sign.pdf )

Some of you may be thinking “that sounds like a big investment.”

It’s true. Stocking up on seven extra days of food that you won’t be eating unless there is an emergency is daunting for me as well, however, the number one tip on the Emergency Preparedness BC website is to know the hazards.

Right now, the most foreseeable hazard is wildfire. Though there is always a chance you may be stuck in your home with no power for one reason or another, right now I think it is more likely you will have to leave in a hurry.

A grab-and-go back should contain many of the same things as above, but all packed and ready to go in a bag (so, ready to eat food instead of 3-7 days worth of food), as well as a pen and notepad and a map of the area. I also have a “pack list” in a visible location near my go bag.

If I have time to grab things before evacuating, I have a list of the most important items to bring along with me, just in case I am feeling panicky and can’t think straight.

I have seen stories of people grabbing the most ridiculous things, but not the only copy of the photo they have of their grandmother.

For me, being somewhat prepared helps ease the fearfulness, just like when I was a kid and my parents had to show me where the chain ladder was just in case I had to climb out my window.

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