Spring 2014

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prep talk In the Aftermath Knowing what can happen following an earthquake will will help you better prepare for one by Steve Burgess How will our world look after a major earthquake hits the B.C. coast? Predicting the aftermath is a matter of educated guess- work. Seismic events in other urban centres offer clues but also demonstrate that we should expect the unexpected. Knowledge is power, so knowing what could possibly be in store following a disas- ter may help you better prepare. What's the likely post-quake scenario? Along your street, fires may have broken out. Downtown, the roads could be choked with debris. Without access to media, you may wonder if bridges are still open or if the water is safe to drink. Still, you can rest assured that help will be out there. According to Kelli Kryzanowski, manager of integrated planning with Emer- gency Management BC, plans are in place for a coordinated emergency response. "We have a plan that will allow us to coordinate first responders, aid and temporary shelters from outside the quake area if necessary. We have agreements in place with the Department of National Defence [DND], the Alberta govern- ment and the Red Cross. The Red Cross can provide disaster management infrastructure that can augment or even replace a hospital. The DND can provide everything from logis- tics to basic supplies to aerial reconnaissance." Then there's the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement, which includes Alaska, the Yukon, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and B.C., all linked in a mutual-aid pact in the event of a major calamity. Our neighbours will be there to offer a lot more than a cup of sugar. Kryzanowski says if your home is badly damaged, relief shelters will be available and it will be up to you whether or not to go. "What shape is your home in? Do you have emergency supplies, food and water? If so, you may prefer to stay where it's more familiar, rather than in a gym with 300 of your new best friends." While help will be available, she notes, "People have to realize that they will also need to take responsibility for their own safety and supplies." The effects of the most severe quakes suggest a week's supply of clean water and non-perishable food would be a sensible precaution. "That's at least four litres of water per person, per day, in tight-lidded, non-breakable containers," says Steve Kee, director of media relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Keep a supply of water purification tablets in your emergency kit. Water can also be made safe to drink by using four drops of liquid household bleach in four-and-a-half litres." Since injuries are possible in an earth- quake, you'll want to be ready to lend a helping hand. "Sign up now for a first aid course, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation [CPR]," suggests Kee. "You should have a first aid kit and instruction booklet." Knowing what to expect following a disaster can help you better prepare yourself, your family and your home today. In the aftermath of an earthquake, that advance preparation can help keep you safe and get things back to normal – or establish a new normal – as quickly as possible. 32 W e s t W o r l d >> s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 (left) courtesy JiBC, (above) istock Next Steps The shaking has stopped. What now? Emergency Management BC offers these tips for steps to take following a major quake: n Apply first aid if qualified. Do not move any seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger. n Check for fires, gas and water leaks and damaged electrical wiring or sewer lines. n If you smell gas, do not light matches, candles or other flames, and do not operate electrical switches. n Check building for cracks and damage, including roof, chimneys and foundation. If you suspect there is serious damage, turn off all utilities and leave the building. n Check food and water supplies. Emergency water can be obtained from water heaters, melted ice cubes, toilet tanks and canned vegetables. n Seek sources of uncontaminated water. If you don't have water purification tablets or bleach, strain water through a paper towel or several layers of clean cloth and boil vigorously for at least six minutes. n Do not use barbecues, camp stoves or unvented heaters indoors. n Do not flush toilet if the sewer line is damaged. n Do not use the telephone unless there is a severe injury or fire to report. n Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news. • ℹ Learn more on how to prepare yourself and your home for an earth- quake at bcaa.com/earthquake p32-33_Prep_Talk SPLIT.indd 32 14-01-29 11:01 AM

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