Emergency Preparedness Week highlights need to prepare

Hmm?I didn?t know that?

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?May 7-13, 2006 is Emergency Preparedness WeeEach year, the Red Cross responds to thousands of disasters in Canada ranging from house fires to tornadoes and floods.

?Northern BC & Yukon residents have faced many emergency situations in the past, from forest fires to floods, ice storms, power outages, and water supply problems.

?Red Cross disaster response volunteers participate in a minimum of 20 hours of training with leadership volunteers participating in over 200 hours of training.

?The Red Cross responds when disasters strike on a large scale and affect an entire community or region, helping the people affected.

?The Red Cross has more than 7,500 disaster response volunteers across Canada.

?One of the unique strengths of the Red Cross is its structure. If a large-scale disaster strikes and stretches the capacity of local volunteers beyond their limits, response teams from throughout the province or from across the country are poised to deploy additional assistance. Depending on the scale of the disaster, the Canadian Red Cross may even call on other national societies to provide assistance and expertise. The Canadian Red Cross has done this for the American Red Cross on several occasions, most recently following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

?With the increasing threat of a large-scale disaster due to extreme weather or a flu pandemic, Red Cross plans to triple its number of disaster response volunteers over the next two years.

?It is only thanks to the generosity of Northern BC and Yukon donors and the volunteers who contribute their time and expertise that Red Cross is able to be there at a moment?s notice when disaster strikes.

?One of the most effective ways to minimize the effects of disaster is through personal and community preparedness.

?The Red Cross offers public preparedness workshops as well as a wealth of preparedness information on its web site at www.redcross.ca.

?Many people don?t stop to consider what life would be like if they were forced to evacuate their home, unable to return for hours, days or weeks. And what if a natural disaster resulted in the loss of heat and electricity? Minimizing discomfort or suffering in times of disaster requires planning.

? Every home should have an emergency survival kit. You can buy a ready-made kit or create your own. For more information contact the Northern BC & Yukon regional office at 1-800-278-7177 or visit www.redcross.ca.

?A home emergency survival kit should include:

oFlashlight and batteries

oRadio and batteries (or a wind-up radio)

oToilet paper and personal supplies

oImportant papers such as ID, personal documents

oCanned food and bottled water, manual can opener

oReplace food and batteries once each year

oOne change of clothing and shoes

oBlankets or sleeping bags

oExtra car keys and cash

oA whistle to attract attention

oFirst aid kit

oMedication