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Has the Tsunami threat made you think about emergency preparedness?

Updated on March 11, 2011

What is a Tsunami?

A tsunami can be generally described as a series of large waves of water caused by the displacement of massive amounts of water when a sub aquatic earthquake strikes. Many coastal areas that experience major earthquakes can be threatened by Tsunamis that result from those quakes, depending upon the severity of the quake. The earthquake that rocked Japan on March 10, 2011 was a magnitude of 8.8 and resulted in a massive tsuanami that killed thousands of people. Here, on the Western coast of Canada, we were issued a Tsunami advisory, which means that the ocean may swell, but basically, that people should stay away from the beaches and oceans.  You would think this was common sense, but countless people were swept away in Indonesia as they stood on the beach in awe, looking at the vast emptiness and calm before the deadly ocean waves came bringing massive destruction with them.

Are you ready?

With all the natural disasters that have recently rocked many countries worldwide, it is time to consider your own situation.  For myself and my family, I tend to think mostly about the the time of day that a disaster will strike.  If I were at work when the "big one" hits, I could really be in trouble.  As everyone knows, the pacific northwest is due for a massive earthquake, it could be tomorrow, it could be a hundred years from now.  Small comfort for me, I work in a crumbly brick building on the top floor.  If that quake strikes, I am located in the middle of a busy city, with tons of gas lines.  Will I be able to escape the mayhem?  My home is a good hour's drive from the city core, so I could be walking for a day or so to get home to my family.  I am reminded, again, of the fragility of our lives and day to day routines, as well as how unprepared I am, personally, to deal with a disaster.

Self Sufficient for 72 hours

The Provincial Government in my home province of British Columbia expects everyone to be able to be self sufficient for at least 72 hours. This may sound like a pretty straight forward concept, but it is surprising how many people will not be able to do this. The best way to be prepared is to make a plan in advance for yourself and for your family. Plan to meet together in a central location so that you can ensure that everyone is together. Your home is probably the best place to meet, but that may be out of the question if you cannot access your home. I am banking on the fact that my home is in a very rural location and although it will take me time to get there, we should be more than fine for at least 72 hours. There is one main bridge to cross, and I will swim the river if I have to. So what does an emergency preparedness kit include?

Here is a short checklist of the items you should have in yours:

* Two Litres of fresh water per person per day - you can purchase a few cases of bottled water if you need to, and store them in your garage or basement.

* Food (obviously) - best if it is items that won't go bad, such as canned items, protein bars and / or dried or dehydrated foods. Make sure you fully replace these items each year.

* Flashlight - or if you are like me, two or three of them, because the kids will want their own.

* Radio - something that catches A.M. stations or a local broadcast so you will be able to get the news as and when it is reported - check the batteries in the radio every six months to ensure they still work.

* Cash - in small denominations, include change for payphones

* First Aid Kit - should include more than just a couple of bandaids

* Special Items - prescription medications, supplies for your baby, your pet, anything that you would need to get from a store that you may not be able to get to for a while.

* Candles, matches, lighter

* Clean, dry clothes and shoes for all family members

* Toiletries including toothbrushes, toothpaste save , hand sanitizer, toilet paper

* Bleach for purifying water (if your fresh water runs out)

* Basic Tool Kit including a knife and work gloves

* Duct tape - 101 uses!

* Emergency plan for your family which includes where you will meet, etc.

If you do not want to put your own kit together, Amazon has some amazing kits that surpass or exceed what the Red Cross has available:

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