EDITORIAL: Ride a wave of preparedness

Tuesday morning’s tsunami alert caught some of us by surprise

Every year in Parksville Qualicum Beach, local municipalities — through the joint Emergency Managment Oceanside program — host multiple awareness and education events during Emergency Preparedness Week.

Typically held in May, Emergency Preparedness Week cautions residents on the steps to take and materials to have on hand in the event of a hypothetical disaster such as an earthquake, flood or landslide.

But there’s nothing quite like the imminent threat of an actual disaster to sharpen one’s focus.

That was certainly the case in Tuesday morning’s tsunami warning for Coastal B.C., which followed a 7.9-magnitude earthquake south of Kodiak, Alaska. While most Parksville Qualicum Beach residents may have slept through the early morning alert, tsunami sirens wailed and residents scrambled for high ground and muster stations from Tofino-Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni to Port Hardy.

One person, describing her headlong rush to get to safe ground mentioned snatching up a prepared grab-and-go bag and jumping into the family vehicle with the most gas to make the trip.

Wait — a grab-and-go bag? Checking gas tank levels? Who does these things?

Those who have prepared, that’s who.

A tsunami may not be the best example to light a fire under east Vancouver Islanders. Due to simple geography and our position on a strait far removed from the open ocean, we face only mild potential impacts from such waves — far less risk than our friends on the west coast or on the northern and southern tips of the Island.

And the capriciousness — and unpredictability — of events like earthquakes and tsunamis make it relatively easy to dismiss immediate concerns. Hey, it could be another 500 years before “The Big One” hits. Someone else’s problem, right?

But our well-being and the safety of our families in the first 72 hours after a major disaster may well remain in our own hands if the event is catastrophic enough to prevent emergency crews and aid from reaching everybody.

There’s no harm in having a stash of potable water, non-perishable food, matches, flashlights and batteries and a few other essentials in a handy place.

Just as important as the physical stuff is education and planning. That starts with a household muster and escape plan, and continues with learning how and where to get the information you need, assuming lines of communication even remain open in an emergency.

Tuesday morning’s tsunami alert caught some of us by surprise, but there’s always time to prepare for the next disaster.

Until there isn’t.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Friends and family playing huge role in search for Vancouver Island man

Volunteers from the public join forces with SAR crews

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Central Vancouver Island man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road near Port Alberni

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read