OUR VIEW: Get your kit together

Consider slowly building up an emergency kit. If nothing else, you’ll be able to help yourself and others when the “big one” comes.

In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, fire departments, police and other officials can only hope that the vast majority of people on Vancouver Island can fend for themselves for an extended period of time.

This weekend, that lesson will be on display at a Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization expo at Panorama Recreation Centre. Officials from the Saanich Peninsula will show how a kit is supposed to be fitted out for just such an emergency.

Taking examples of earthquakes in metropolitan areas — and even rural ones — into consideration, emergency personnel are pushing the idea that it will take much longer to respond than originally thought.

Instead of the estimated 72 hours, it could take up to a week for crews to reach people in need — or at the minimum to re-open roads and supply lines.

On the Island, as in most of B.C., homes are made of wood — which is one saving grace, say John Trelford and Mike Harman of the North Saanich and Sidney fire departments, respectively. Most homes, they say, should remain standing after a large quake. That helps ensure people will have shelter, at least.

What folks need, they say, is a kit of supplies — food, water, first aid gear — that will last a week or longer. During some of the more harsh weather events on the Island, store supplies are snapped up. That’s a relatively minor occurrence. Imagine a big one.

It’s a big commitment to have a kit like that just sitting around. It’ll take time, money and follow through to have one on hand. And while it might be frustrating to even consider having one, just think of the position you’ll be in if something happens (jinx, jinx) and you’re without essential supplies, with no way to get any.

Consider slowly building up an emergency kit. If nothing else, you’ll be able to help yourself and others when the “big one” comes.