COLUMN: Lyle Karasiuk — May 8, 2014

Lyle Karasiuk
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There is always some advertisement or commercial reminding us that this is low in fat, sugar free, high in fibre or generally better for our health. We are often challenged through advertising to take better care of ourselves through regular exercise. All good advice but often little things make the difference.

This week is emergency preparedness week where many agencies including the paramedics at Parkland Ambulance Care, encourage us to be prepared. Whether we live in the country or city, a single-family house or in an apartment there is something we can all do to be prepared.

Little things like knowing the closest exit in case of a fire. Having a meeting place in the yard or across the street should you have to evacuate the home. A few extra flashlights, battery powered radio, extra bottles of water even pet food ready in case of an emergency.

The Government of Canada has a great website at www.getprepared.ca for you to get some great resources.

The website has a simple message; you need to be able to care for yourself and your family for at least 72 hours before other help might become available.

The website also encourages us to do three things: Know the risk, make a plan and build a kit.

Know the risks ask us all to know what potential problems could occur. For example if you live in the country on an isolated rural road with a creek nearby, power outages, flooding or even a forest fire might be all real possibilities.

Make a plan asks us to think what we can do if power does go out for more than just a couple hours.

Build a kit asks us then to consider having extra water, spare flashlights, extra cash, and important papers all stored together for access when the emergency does occur. We often think that nothing will ever happen to us or if something does happen someone will take care of us.

Think about this last week we had a power outage for a couple hours in our area. Alarm clock didn’t go off to get the day started. Hmm wonder why the lights are out so try calling Sask Power, wait the cordless phone doesn’t work.

Went to search on Twitter for anything waiting no wireless Internet access. No coffee, no hot breakfast, couldn’t use the electric razor and a few other minor daily inconveniences occurred. It became apparent the day was off to a slower start.

Wait the electric garage door opener doesn’t work so you manually lift the but now how do you secure it? Even the smallest failures might cause the greatest stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

A little planning goes a long way to help ease the stress and get you or your family through the event. Building that kit is easy.

Find an old suitcase, large plastic container or even a box to gather up the items. Think about what you need to be safe at home but also if asked to or forced to leave your house on short notice, need to take with you. Don’t rely on someone else to do it for you.

It is your own responsibility to know the risks, make a plan and build a kit; www.getprepared.ca or www.redcross.ca are two great places to get you started. Free brochures, checklist and guides are all available. Rather than wait till something happens, plan today.

While doing so maybe think about your neighbours, a single senior and of course pets too. Planning today will make a safer tomorrow.

Organizations: Parkland Ambulance Care

Geographic location: Canada

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