The earthquake off the shores of Haida Gwaii Saturday should serve as a warning to everyone in B.C., including those who live in quiet valleys in the interior of the province.
We are not immune to the forces of nature and the planet. Natural disruptions can strike here as well. While Saturday’s quake, a 7.7-magnitude temblor that rattled coastal walls and set chandeliers swinging, caused no damage or injury, the next one might be different.
And quakes aside, there are other forms of natural disaster, from ice storms and flooding to wildfires or pandemic viruses, that have the potential to affect human systems of support, supply, communication and transportation. Planet Earth is a spectacular place to live, but it has risks, too, and as history has shown, it is only a matter of time before natural misfortune comes calling.
When the day comes — and it is best to consider a natural disaster a when, not an if — we must be prepared. We don’t suggest that people build bunkers or stockpile food and weapons in preparation for apocalypse. What we advocate amounts to nothing more than adopting and abiding by guidelines established by emergency officials.
Be prepared to be self-sufficient for three days is the official message. Keep three days of food and water on hand for everyone in your family, as well as some batteries and flashlights, a few candles, a radio, some cash and, of course, a few rolls of toilet paper.
That’s simple enough, but it requires some prior planning and shopping. The best time to prepare for emergencies is when the skies are clear, the rivers are low and the ground is not shaking beneath our feet. Preparation is not frantic shopping in packed grocery and hardware stores as emergency officials urge evacuation.
Having a three-day survival kit assembled and set aside in a big plastic box in a storage corner somewhere might make the difference between a few rugged days hunkered down in your house or a couple really bad days as you desperately try to provide for your family’s needs.
The time to get ready for a disaster is now. Let the Haida Gwaii quake serve as an important reminder of the need to do so. The federal government has prepared a useful website to help us make a proper plan. Visit www.getprepared.gc.ca for more information.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.