Unnerved B.C. residents stock up on disaster survival kits (plus list of what to have on hand)
A couple walks past upturned vehicles sitting on a wall in the city of Miyako in Iwate prefecture on March 12, 2011 a day after a massive 8.9 magnitude quake and tsunami hit the region. An explosion at a Japanese nuclear plant triggered fears of a meltdown on March 12, after the massive earthquake and tsunami left more than 1,000 dead and at least 10,000 unaccounted for.
Photograph by: YOMIURI SHIMBUN/AFP/Getty Images
If “the big one” strikes the coast of B.C., surviving for the first 72 hours may be vital.
And, in the wake of Friday’s devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami, there’s been a run on survival kits, says a Vancouver supplier.
“The retail side of our business is at least at five times the regular so far and may end up being as high as 10 times,” said Scott Larson, sales manager for Krasicki & Ward Emergency Preparedness at Cambie and 12th Avenue. “Peoplke are very jumpy. As long as people do something to get themselves prepared, they’ll better be able to manage the situation.”
He said that if people are prepared for 72 hours “they don’t have to go out and join the chaos if things are really bad.”
A one-person kit goes for $39.95 and the five person family kit costs $129.95, he said.
The kits include survival food and water for 72 hours, sanitation items, first aid supplies, light sticks, Mylar space blankets, whistles, waterproof matches and ponchos.
Larson said the kit has a five-year shelf life and is very light and compact.
Emergency planners urge people to prepare their own home survival kits for any disaster scenario.
The kit should contain enough supplies to meet a family’s needs for at least three days including:
• A three-day supply of water (five litres of water per person per day) and food that will not spoil.
• One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
• A first aid kit that contains your family’s prescription drugs and other necessary medications.
• Emergency tools including a battery-operated radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
• An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveller’s cheques.
• Sanitation supplies.
• Family members should be trained to use fire extinguishers.
The supplies should be stored in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers like backpacks, duffle bags or covered trash containers.
Families should also have a disaster plan and:
• Select two places to meet. The first should be at a designated spot such as a tree or other prominent landmark right outside the home in the case of fire or another sudden emergency. The second should be at a designated location outside your neighbourhood in case you cannot return home.
• Ask an out-of-province friend to be your family contact. After a disaster it is frequently easier to call long distance. In the event of a disaster, every family member should call this person to tell them where they are.
• Discuss what to do in the event of an evacuation, including how to take care of your pets.
• In the case of an earthquake, most damage and destruction is caused by fire that results from broken gas lines and downed power lines. Damage can be prevented by shutting off utilities as soon as possible after disaster strikes.
Locate the main electric service box, the water main shut-off valve and the gas main shut-off valve.
• Keep a shut-off wrench (or other necessary tools) near gas and water shut-off valves. Turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines are damaged or if you are instructed to do so. If you turn the gas off, you will need a professional to turn it back on to be sure that conditions are safe.
• Determine the best escape routes from your home. There should be at least two ways out of each room.
• Keep a supply of water purification tablets in your emergency kit. Water also can be made safe to drink by using four drops of liquid household bleach in 4 1/2 litres of clear water or 10 drops in 4 1/2 litres of cloudy water. Replace stored tap water at least every six months.
• If the water is still running, fill a bathtub and other containers. Remember, there’s water available too in a hot water tank and toilet reservoir.
• Have a flashlight and spare batteries. Keep the flashlight near your bed. Batteries should be separate in your kit.
• Use a battery AM/FM radio and have spare batteries, stored separately in waterproof bags.
• Keep essential medication and supplies for infants, elderly persons and those with special needs.
• Have shoes heavy enough to protect from broken glass and other debris. Keep them handy, wherever you are.
• Have cash including coins (25 cents) for telephones, because banks and credit cards may not be usable
• Have a sleeping bag for each member of your family.
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