The Cariboo Regional District is encouraging residents to have an emergency plan in place.
Stephanie Masun, Manager of Emergency Programs and Disaster Resilience, set up a table at the Heritage Market at 108 Mile Ranch last Saturday, offering pamphlets and information on how to be prepared. Some 42 people dropped by her booth, where she showed off a backpack full of essentials – from dehydrated food to a pet dish and can opener – and helped them assess what they need.
“Have a plan at home and with your family who lives away,” Masun said. “Know what each of you will do in an emergency situation and that will help you reduce your stress because an emergency is stressful enough when you’re worrying about yourself and your family.”
Her backpack, filled with $40 worth of essentials would be sufficient for her family of four if they were under evacuation or trapped on the highway overnight. Although she acknowledges she “might need a bigger bag” if they were stuck somewhere for longer, she said it’s worth it to be prepared.
She suggests residents also take a picture of the phone number of their broker or insurance company along with their policy numbers so even if they’re travelling and something happens back home, they will still have those numbers to make a claim in a timely manner.
They should also have those discussions with their adult children, she said.
“I’m talking to them really about any kind of emergency where they might be separated from one another or have to leave their home,” Masun said. “Navigating these processes takes time and you need the information to get going.”
Masun also noted that with more people getting backyard chickens and goats, or honey beehives, it’s important to factor them into any emergency plan.”
The point is to be prepared to leave things if you must. If you are not going to leave them, what are you going to do? The solutions are not going to come quickly at the last minute. Have discussions now with your friends, family and neighbours.
“We would never want to encourage people to end up in situations where they are overwhelmed, so do the pre-planning now.”
Masun plans to visit more rural markets and hold pop-up events to get the word out. Residents can also get more information at https://www.cariboord.ca/en/emergency-and-protective-services/preparing-for-an-emergency.aspx