SEATTLE, Wash. -- April is traditionally Disaster Preparedness Month in the United States, with observances ranging from Governors' proclamations to statewide "Drop, Cover and Hold" exercises. Next week (1-7 May) is Emergency Preparedness Week throughout Canada, with British Columbia sponsoring Province-wide emergency supplies checklists, help/ok cards and media kits with messaging and articles on emergency preparedness. Why the sudden emphasis on emergency preparedness? According to FEMA director David de Courcy it's not "sudden," but a level of urgency is always appropriate when dealing with personal and professional emergency preparedness issues.
"Planning is not the same as prediction," said de Courcy. "Earthquakes, floods, and winter storms will occur here -- eventually, causing varying degrees of disruption and injury, even death. Acts of terrorism, or industrial disasters may strike close enough to home to warrant mitigation measures. The same independence and peace of mind provided by preparing for probable natural hazards will stand everyone in good stead in the event of less likely 'exotic' events."
British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) director Mervin Harrower agrees. "All-hazards emergency planning is simple common sense," said Harrower. "We live in the shadow of the Cascadia subduction zone. Earthquakes and tsunami risks are things to mitigate against -- not live in fear of. This is true for virtually all potential threats to our urban infrastructure, communications and life support networks. Becoming self-sufficient in terms of water, food, shelter and medical supplies for 72-hours, until systems are restored or help arrives makes for healthier homes, neighborhoods, and communities."