OUR VIEW: Prepare but don’t fret

Most of us are pretty good about not living in fear about when the next “big one” is going to occur.

Most of us are pretty good about not living in fear about when the next “big one” is going to occur.

Yet that doesn’t mean we should go around thinking that a large earthquake event is probably not going to happen to us, so we don’t really need to prepare for such an occasion.

Trying not to live in fear is one thing — not taking steps to mitigate disaster when it occurs, is foolish.

It could be argued that there’s little anyone can do to protect against a devastating earthquake and a resulting tsunami. There have been plenty of recent examples, world-wide, that demonstrated the terrible impact of these natural disasters.

Scientists, as well, are warning that it’s only a matter of time before the west coast witnesses another major quake, like the one in 1700 that hit the Pacific Ocean to the west of Vancouver Island. Yet they cannot accurately predict when it’s going to happen.

That creates a lot of uncertainty — or a lot of complacency — and the latter is a battle that emergency officials continue to fight, from earthquakes to local disasters.

On a small scale, we take precautions in our day-to-day lives (life insurance, seat belts) and in our homes (smoke and carbon monoxide detectors).

We are also encouraged to keep emergency preparedness kits close by, in case the larger events occur. These might include temporary shelters (tents), blankets, lighting, battery-powered radios, food and water. The official line is we should have enough supplies on hand (and accessible in the event of a quake, fire or flood) for 72 hours, but after disasters in relatively well-off nations, that estimate has gone up, given that it could take days for emergency and government personnel to open roads and get help convoys rolling.

To a great extent, we’re on our own in a disaster and at the mercy of our neighbours if we are not.

So, it behooves us to take precautions — just in case.

We can then shed the fear of the unknown and continue to enjoy where we live, knowing that when the big one comes, we have a fighting chance.