Written by Nicole Spence, Advisor, Lower Mainland, Health Emergency Management BC

ShakeOutBC is done for 2017, but staying prepared requires effort year-round. If you’re a parent or a coffee drinker, you may want to read this article.

ShakeOutBC is done for 2017, but staying prepared requires effort year-round. By planning in advance for personal and family safety, you can provide assistance and focus on the task at hand in the event of an emergency. Being properly prepared helps our community by ensuring that we continue to provide the best health care possible.

The basics

A few simple tasks can help prepare for an emergency:

  • Determine how to connect with family.
  • Learn about the resources in your work area.
  • Secure nonstructural hazards throughout your building. For example: anchoring filing cabinets and shelves to wall studs.
  • Place emergency supplies (including first aid kits and printed plans) in accessible locations.

Unconventional tips

Once you have the basics covered, you may want to consider these options, especially if you find yourself at work and no relief is in sight.

1. Keep running shoes at your desk, especially if you wear dress shoes to work.

During an emergency or natural disaster, the roads may be closed, and you may need to walk home at the end of your shift. Unless you’re one of the lucky few that live across the street from work, you may want to prepare so that you can work and walk many kilometres in comfort while avoiding injury.

2. Instant coffee, acceptable during camping trips and disasters 

Can’t move or think in the morning without your coffee? A disaster might be one of the worst settings for caffeine withdrawal. You may want to also pack some powdered milk and sugar if you like your double-doubles.

3. Your old glasses, a welcome sight 

You might hate the prescription glasses you wore five years ago, but they would be handy if your current pair get broken or you need some relief from your contacts (better keep some solution on hand too). Even though you regret your former fashion choices, slip those spectacles in your emergency kit.

4. Keep an old phone

Did you just upgrade your cell phone? Planning to sell your old one on Craigslist? You may want to consider adding your old cell to your emergency kit if it can connect to a network (data-based services like text messaging and social media are less likely to experience major interruptions). Communicating and accessing information online is invaluable during a disaster or an emergency – just make sure to keep a USB charger on hand as well. Your family may not be together when a disaster occurs, so it’s important to practice what you’ve planned so you know how to connect with each other in the case of an emergency.

5. Entertainment pack

In case you have a few moments of downtime, you may want to pack some family photos, notebooks, reading material and games. Activity books, Sudoku, word searches and crossword puzzles are great ways to keep your brain active but relaxed.

Further information

Visit ShakeOutBC and PreparedBC for further information on personal preparedness, as well as specific actions for health care providers and patients.

On Twitter? Follow @BCHealthEM for emergency preparedness tips and resources that you can share with your network.

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