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Not as prepared as we think

In this week's poll, Castanet asked readers whether they felt prepared in the event of an emergency. 

Basic essential items include:

  • Non-perishable food for all family members
  • Two litres of water per person, per day
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Cash
  • Medications or other special needs items
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency contact info
  • Passports and identification

798 people responded to the poll.

Despite employees at a number of gas stations and grocery stores on the Westside reporting long line-ups most of the day Friday, only 53 per cent of respondents said they felt they were ready if worst came to worst. 

Thirty-nine per cent said they were not prepared and 6 per cent said they didn't care about emergency preparedness. While 2 per cent said they would be prepared soon.

At one point the Smith Creek Fire came within 100 metres of the main transmission lines supplying power to more than 60,000 people around West Kelowna.

Emergency operations claim that families should be ready for at least 72 hours without power or basic services such as clean water.

The Smith Creek Fire began Thursday night and within a couple of hours the first evacuations were taking place. Some of these people were able to stay with friends and family, but more than 1,200 others were required to register with emergency services. 

Bruce Smith with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan said he believes that about 50 per cent of residents are at least partially prepared for an emergency of some sort. 

"We are very familiar here with the wildfires, and we've had a good number since 2003. But there's other emergencies such as the risk of a chemical spill or maybe a plane crash that people should be aware of," he said. 

"Specifically as a result of the Smith Creek Fire, was the need to prepare your family for an extended power outage. We're so used to having the occasional outage that may last from five minutes to an hour, but are you and your family prepared to handle an outage that goes on for three days?"

Smith said many contingency plans and emergency information can be found at the www.cordemergency.ca website.

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