This week is National Emergency Preparedness Week (May 6-12) and local organizers are focusing on a regional approach.
Parksville emergency program coordinator Aaron Dawson said they have focused on specific aspects in past years.
Those included earthquakes, personal and family preparation and communication, and this year they are bringing it all together.
The national week is held at the beginning of May as a call to action emphasizing the importance of improving preparedness levels.
To help people prepare there will be information displays in the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre (city hall) atrium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 to Thursday, May 9.
There will also be representatives of key organizations like Emergency Social Services and the Emergency Communications Team on hand to answer questions.
“If people have questions about emergency preparation or about volunteering this will be a great opportunity to speak one on one,” Dawson said.
Along with the indoor displays, people can check out the communication team’s newly outfitted trailer.
People should be ready to take care of themselves after an emergency while first responders are working on the most urgent needs. Everyone should have an emergency plan and kit and identify the risks where they live and work.
“The more prepared the public is, the easier responding is and the quicker things get back to normal afterward,” said Dawson.
“Emergency responders have limited resources, like everyone,” fire chief Doug Banks has previously said. “It may take some time for rescuers to get to you, so we recommend people have everything they need to survive for 72 hours minimum, or we like to say for up to a week,”
People should have everything from food and water to medications and important documents in one safe accessible place and even think of things like alternative cooking sources, places to stay and out of province contacts.
A hazard risk vulnerability assessment done on the region set the priority of the 22 most likely or dangerous emergency situations, out of the 57 plans in place province wide.
The biggest local threats, in descending order are earthquakes, wildfires and pandemics.
While local government is on the front line during an emergency and oversees operations, they depend on volunteers — which they always need more of.
The Parksville website has good information and links at www.parksville.ca, under the “quicklinks” on the right. Also check www.qualicumbeach.com, www.rdn.bc.ca and the national site at www.getprepared.gc.ca.