Are all families in Langley prepared, should a big emergency hit?
If Ginger Sherlock, the coordinator for Langley Emergency Program, were a betting woman, she’d lay money down that most are not.
There were 60,000 people evacuated from the B.C. Interior during last summer’s wildfires alone.
Climate change is bringing with it more potential for these and other types of emergency situations – earthquakes, tsunamis, and extreme weather cases – and Langley isn’t immune.
But Langleyites are just not ready, Sherlock said, making it her job to help change that status.
That’s the motivation behind a series of free emergency preparedness sessions, and open house, and even a pet first-aid course coming up this month.
The need is so great, Sherlock said, that Langley isn’t going to simply mark emergency preparedness week, but rather focus the entire month on this important topic, and the quest to get #FamilyReady.
A series of educational session aimed at helping get Langley ready kicks off with a pet first-aid course being offered this Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to noon.
This session helps prepare for emergency situations that may arise at home with a pet. Brookswood Veterinary Hospital is partnering with LEP to offer free course providing tips, techniques, first-aid and CPR training, and even a basic understanding of poisonings to help save the four-legged members of the family. Registration in advance is required at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-514-2820.
“They are part of the family, so when preparing make sure they’re ready too, including in case of evacuation.”
There will also be four public information sessions about emergency preparedness. The first being held May 9 in the City, the second for Fort Langley and Walnut Grove on May 17, another in Aldergrove on May 26, and the final in Brookswood on May 30. All but the Aldergrove session run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The Aldergrove meeting is being hosted from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Again, people must register via email at email@example.com or by calling 604-514-2820, at which time they will be given specifics about the location.
And on top of these events, the team is hosting an emergency program open house at the Murrayville firehall, 22170 50th Avenue (near the hospital) on Thursday, May 24, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. No pre-registration is required, Sherlock said. This is a drop-in event.
Langleyites have to realize that in case of a disaster, they can’t count on outside agencies and resources to take care of them, she elaborated.
“We must be ready to camp,” Sherlock said.
People must be ready to camp out without outside resources for two weeks. That means having provisions in place for shelter, food, clothing, water, and sanitation to carry the family through for that length of time, she shared.
She noted that living conditions go from first-world to third-world really quick, and being prepared is critical.
And noting the responsibilities lie with individuals, people have to be prepared to take care of themselves and their loved ones, to understand the hazards, without aid from government agencies or emergency responders.
“What are you going to do?” she queried.
This concern was echoed by Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese.
“When an emergency strikes, your family’s safety is paramount. That’s why it is important to take action and plan ahead now, so you will be prepared, not scared, should a disaster occur,”Froese said.
“Emergency Preparedness Week is an excellent opportunity to make sure your family is ready, and I encourage everyone to attend the valuable educational activities being presented throughout our community.”
Knowing how to communicate with each other, knowing where you’re going to meet up, knowing you’re got a plan and supplies in place, that takes the anxiety out of an already traumatic situation, Sherlock said, anxious to make sure families are ready.
Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer is anxious to see local people prepared, and happy one of the public information sessions is being held in the City.
“If an emergency happens to you or to your household, would you know what to do? It is important to take the time now to learn and truly understand the phrase ‘be prepared’,” Schaffer said.
For more information, people can also go online to langleyprepared.ca.