Personal Preparedness

If there is one thing that we have learned about emergency situations and mother nature over the past three or four years, it's to expect the unexpected.  Although the RDEK has three Emergency Programs that can activate during emergencies, individuals and families can do so much in advance to be prepared.  Simple things like having an emergency kit on hand, understanding the difference between an evacuation alert and an evacuation order, had having -- and testing - a family emergency plan can make the difference when emergencies happen.

This page contains a number of links we hope will be helpful.  From the high level basics of hazard awareness, to the nitty gritty of how to sandbag, there is a wealth of information at your finger tips.

Is Your Family Prepared to be Self Sufficient for at least 72 Hours in Case of an Emergency?

Here are some steps you can take to prepare:

1.  Know the Hazards. The top three in the East Kootenay are wildfire, flood and hazardous materials incidents; however, there are over 40 identified hazards in BC. Some hazards are even closer to home.  Try going on a Home Hazard Hunt to find common hazards and take steps to reduce the risk.

2.  Prepare an Emergency Plan. Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility.  Everyone has a part to play – the individual, private business, volunteer organizations, and government agencies.In a major emergency, help may take some time to arrive.  Members of a family may become separated.  Each family’s situation is unique and you are in the best position to plan for your needs.  Help yourself to be prepared by putting together an Emergency Plan for your home and family. Some things to think about:

  • where the exits are from your home and neighbourhood
  • a meeting place to reunite with family or roommates
  • a designated person to pick up your children should you be unavailable
  • close-by and out-of-town contact persons
  • health information
  • a place for your pet to stay
  • the location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain.

Take half and hour to prepare a customized plan for your family. For help and an online planning tool, click here

3.  Assemble an Emergency Kit. For a complete list, visit the Get Prepared website.

4.  Practice Your Plan. The best way to be prepared is to physically go through the steps that might be needed in an emergency.  To practice in your home, think of some possible scenarios that might occur.  Actually go through the motions of what you would do, using your plan as a guide.  Here are a few scenarios to get you started:

  • You’re sleeping in bed when you are awoken by the smell of smoke. What do you do?
  • A police office knocks on your door to tell you that you need to evacuate because a wildfire started just a few blocks away.  It’s hot and the winds are blowing in your direction.  You have to leave immediately.  How do you make sure everyone gets away safely and stays in touch afterward?
  • The small creek next to your house is rising because of a heavy rainfall. Who do you call for help?
  • Your neighbourhood is placed under an evacuation order while you are away at work.  Your kids are due back from school in a few hours. How would you make sure that everyone can connect?

5. Get Involved. The key to an effective response to an emergency is being prepared.  There are already many dedicated people working in the community for this goal.  Knowing what we are up against, and, more importantly, knowing what to do about it reduces the fear of the unknown associated with emergency situations. 

Help yourself by helping others in your community.  Become involved. No matter what your talent, your help is appreciated. 

Rewarding volunteer opportunities in emergency preparedness are available locally from these, and other, community organizations: For more information about any aspect of emergency preparedness, please contact Anita Charest, Emergency Planning Coordinator at or 250-420-1917.

Other Links:

The following links are provided for information.  These are not all RDEK handouts, but we thought readers may find them helpful.

Emergency Management BC also has a lot of information on everything from emergency preparedness to fires and floods.

Last edited: Wed, May 04, 2022 - 11:42:04