Seattle, WA -- April was Disaster Preparedness Month in the United States, with observances ranging from Governors' proclamations to statewide "Drop, Cover and Hold" exercises. Next week (6-12 May) is Emergency Preparedness Week throughout Canada, and National Arson Awareness Week throughout the U.S. Why the sudden emphasis on emergency preparedness? According to FEMA Acting Regional Director Tammy Doherty it's not "sudden," but a level of urgency is always appropriate when dealing with emergency preparedness issues.
"The February 28 Nisqually Earthquake sent a strong message," said Doherty. "Earthquakes, floods, wildfires and urban conflagration happen -- causing varying degrees of disruption, injury, even death. And it's not just natural hazards: arson, acts of terrorism and industrial disasters are real enough to warrant serious 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. "In B.C., we not only felt Washington State's Nisqually Earthquake in February, but areas of B.C. and Alberta also felt tremors on April 13 from a quake registering 5.5 in the northwest region of our province," said Harrower. "It is critical for every individual to plan ahead and be prepared, not only for earthquakes or tsunamis, but for any emergency. Emergency Preparedness Week is a good opportunity for families to find out about their community's risks and hazards, take safety measures in their homes and prepare an emergency survival kit."
Listen to Tammy Doherty, Acting Director, FEMA Region X speaks to the necessity of emergency preparedness. (wav ~6 MB)