COLUMN: Lyle Karasiuk — March 13, 2014

Lyle Karasiuk
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Well the warmer weather and bright sunshine signal a hopeful end to winter. I like everyone else is looking forward to spring, all be it we’ve got to get through the mud of spring. I think I’ll take a little wet weather over -50 for a break.

We heard through the media that in many communities including our own, it has been hard on infrastructure. Water main breaks keep popping up and likely as the spring thaw continues we may in fact see more. At our house we found one morning no water due to a frozen water line and thanks to the good folks at our city public works who braved the cold; we had water later that same afternoon.

But it was a little unusual for we take for granted that when you turn on the tap or flush the toilet through the mysterious underground network of pipes, clean water suddenly appears. When it doesn’t we are a bit mystified and maybe even upset it isn’t there. So downstairs that day I went for bottled water, as at least we have a water cooler and a spare water jug for dishes, etc. So it got me thinking thankfully it was only water and not heat that was off that cold winter day a few weeks ago.

Now with the spring run-off started and predictions of possible flooding in the Prince Albert area, are you prepared?

The Government of Canada has a great web site at www.getprepared.gc.ca which gives all of us the tools to be prepared for a natural disaster. We often in the city take for granted someone will look after us or we’ll have a place to go but what would you do if you lived alone and had no family? Whether you live in an apartment or single family residence we all need to be prepared. Stumbling around in the dark to find the flashlight, not having plenty of extra bottled water or nowhere to go can be stressful if not a very real concern for people.

Now when there is no emergency should you, your friends or family take the time to sit down and make a plan. It is really easy to build an emergency kit stored under the stairs or in the front hall closet. Easy to access and something you check yearly. That’s what www.getprepared.gc.ca encourages us to do.

If you live in the rural area you might be starting to think about alternative road access because of spring flooding. While the local RM will certainly do their best to share road closures with emergency services, sometimes conditions change quite quickly.

When help is urgent especially for paramedics knowing an alternative route is very important. Parkland Ambulance always encourages people who live in the rural areas to not only know where you are at but be able to describe the way to get to the house. You know you turn here, turn there and then you are home, but being able to describe the directions to someone might be challenging.

So take the time now to find a piece of paper and write the following onto the paper:

Name of the residence for example John Smith Farm

Legal land location

Phone number of the house

Directions of how to get to the house from the nearest major road and an alternative route just in case the road is blocked due to flooding or snow. Use fixed noticeable landmarks, or signs. Do not use moveable objects or names only the local residents might know.

Put this information beside each phone in the house

The person calling for help might not be someone who lives there. It could be a neighbor or friend who’s visited countless times before but cannot describe the route. Maybe it is a small child who’s calling for mom or dad who might be hurt.

Before spring flooding possibly gets you stuck at home, make a plan, know where you are at and know what to do to stay safe for at least 72 hours. Visit www.getprepared.gc.ca or www.parklandambulance.com for more information.

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Canada

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