With weather events, earthquakes off the B.C. coast and natural disasters becoming more common, emergency preparedness is top-of-mind for many Port Coquitlam residents.

A comprehensive new guide is now available to help prepare for a potential major emergency such as an earthquake, flood or major storm. Are You Prepared? explains how to plan ahead for potential disasters, stay safe during and afterwards, and then begin to return to normal life. The 36-page guide is available for free pickup at City facilities, or can be viewed or downloaded from www.portcoquitlam.ca/ep.

“The safety of our citizens is a top priority for our city and we want to make sure they and their loved ones know what to do if a disaster strikes,” said Mayor Brad West. “We hope that our user-friendly new guide is the catalyst our residents need to get prepared.”

Port Coquitlam designed its guide to provide information about all stages of an emergency – before, during and after – unlike many other resources that focus on one specific stage. The colour-coded booklet is meant to be a go-to resource that residents can use to prepare in advance, and then stow away with their emergency kit for reference when they update supplies, as well as during and after a disaster.

The back pages include useful resources such as contact cards and Help and OK signs. Complementary information sheets are also posted online.

“It’s important that people are prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours after a disaster while the City works to restore services,” said Tara Stroup, the City’s Emergency Program Officer. “Involving the whole household in emergency preparedness is the best way to ensure your loved ones stay safe during and after a disaster.”

The new guide adds to the variety of emergency preparedness resources available to Port Coquitlam residents and businesses.

Along with its online and printed materials, the city offers hands-on training at four free EP courses each year. The half-day sessions cover four topics: personal preparedness, rapid damage assessment, basic fire suppression, and light urban search and rescue. Residents can register online for upcoming sessions on Nov. 24, Mar. 2, May 25, Sept. 14 and Nov. 23.

Resources for businesses include a 34-page Emergency Preparedness Toolkit for Businesses, available in print and online, and free business continuity workshops that teach how to minimize risk and downtime.

Businesses are also encouraged to complete an online form to tell the city what kind of resources and services they would be able to provide during a large-scale disaster. The information will form part of the city’s response following a major emergency.

In addition to community education, the City prepares for major emergencies by training staff and volunteers, developing preparedness plans, participating in local and regional exercises, stockpiling equipment and resources, and preparing Emergency Social Services (ESS) that will offer reception centres, food, clothing, lodging, family reunification and other support after a disaster.

For more information and resources, visit portcoquitlam.ca/ep or call 604.927.5466.

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