Public Safety Canada and Emergency Services officials warn us that in the event of a natural disaster we need to be able to care for ourselves for up to 72 hours. For elderly people living on their own, it means they must be prepared to wait in their homes for either a rescue or the delivery of food and supplies.
Public Safety Canada advises to know the risks of the area you live and to make a plan accordingly. In Langley, it is unlikely that we will have a wildfire situation, but we have been warned numerous times that ‘the BIG one is coming!’ Planning for an earthquake is far different than planning to outrun a wildfire.
If you have a disability or a loss of vision or hearing it is important that your plan be designed to help not only yourself but those who would come to your rescue. The following list will make things far simpler if the worst should happen.
- If your vision is limited, you will need to make sure you have an extra long cane. This helps you to readily maneuver around debris on the floor or find furniture that may have shifted in earthquake.
- Mark all emergency supplies in advance. Use fluorescent tape, large print or even Braille. For Braille labels contact your local branch of the CNIB.
- Mark gas, water and electric shutoff valves in advance. Again, use fluorescent tape, large print or Braille labels. IMPORTANT If you DO NOT smell gas, DO NOT shut off your gas valve. This will delay getting your home operational after the disaster.
Arrange to have the home’s water tank secured; this will provide a safe and potable water source.
Familiarize yourself with your escape route and have a Plan B should one route be blocked.
If you have a seeing eye dog, plan for their evacuation as well.
- Have a ‘Grab & Go’ kit for your dog. Review, replenish and discard items as needed.
- Make sure your dog is tattooed or micro-chipped.
- Most shelters will take working dogs, but make sure you have extra food on hand that you can bring along with you. The dog will possibly be as traumatized as you and thus will appreciate not having to tolerate a change in diet.
The above are simple steps to take in order to be able to remain in your home in the event of a disaster, comfortably, safely and most importantly, prepared.
Lilianne Fuller, Relationship Manager at B Cared For Services