Are You Emergency Ready 4-72? How well would you survive for 72 hours in the event of an emergency?
When you think of natural disasters you probably just think about getting the hell out of there, but what if transport was impossible with trees down across the roads, floods and widespread power cuts. You suddenly find yourself confined to your home with minimal communication with the outside world. I hadn’t really thought about that aspect before, and the reality is that, despite the incredible work our emergency service people do to restore services to get our lives back to order, the power could be out for along as 72 hours.
The State Government initiative U-4-72 is set up to prepare residents in the case of an emergency, not just bushfires but all emergencies including storms, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. The Government has issued this Emergency Ready Guide titled U-4-72, so named to promote a 72 hour survival plan. Questions
- How would you go if you were confined to your home for 72 hours?
- Do you have an emergency action plan for evacuation?
These are two questions discussed last week in Gelorup, when Terri Kowal from Bunbury City Council ran an Emergency Ready workshop for local residents. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas and strategies. Ms Kowal, Captain of the Bushfire brigade for ten years, has been involved in Volunteer Emergency Services for two decades. She stressed that nobody is immune to disasters, not just bushfires but floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. “It’s no good being blaze and thinking “she’ll be right, the fire brigade will be here, because the reality is that there won’t be enough fire trucks to save all the houses,” she said. She said the key is all about being ready when the unexpected occurs – planning with family, friends and neighbours, preparation in and around your home and having a ready to grab kit. In the wake of such an emergency you may not be able to leave your home, due to fallen trees and power cuts which can last for up to 72 hours. Emergency U – 4 -72 back pack ready kits are available from Shire councils for $80 but you can easily make your own with an old back pack. You can make it a family project – get the kids involved making up the family kits. They can decorate the backpacks with brightly coloured tape or pictures and have fun stocking it by sourcing the necessary items. Some suggested items for the emergency pack include dust masks, emergency fire blankets, water bladders, hand sanitiser, a first aid kit, tissues , cans of food , torches and spare batteries, to name a few. It’s a good idea to have important personal documents and family photos scanned and stored on to a flash drive (USB stick). Photographs of valuable items for proof of ownership for insurance purposes.
Residents agreed that the workshop was, not only useful in helping them to prepare for a possible disaster, but added that it also helped them to feel empowered and alleviated some of the fear, especially of bushfires . For further information re forming a bushfire Ready group in the Gelorup area you can contact Selina Young on (08) 97 801900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are You Ready?
Tips for preparing and keeping safe in the event of an Emergency
- Keep gutters clear from leaves
- Rake leaves regularly
- Keep all tree and shrub limbs trimmed to avoid contact with wires.
- Keep trees adjacent to house and shed free of dead or dying wood.
- Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house.
- Ensure smoke detectors are working – regularly replace batteries
- Burn off safely during the approved times
- Maintain fire breaks around property
- Install roof sprinklers
- Ensure hoses are working and ready to use to damp down ground surrounding house
- Have an emergency plan in place
- Communicate with neighbours re bushfire ready plan
Have an emergency back pack ready in case of evacuation
- Ensure any medications, enough for 7 days are in emergency pack and check every 3 months and replace. Talk to your pharmacist about a small Webster pack if your medications remain the same. Always have a medication list in your pack.
- Pet food, including water if you need to evacuate your home.
- Watch for embers – they travel a long way ahead of the fire front.
- Transfer important docs to ‘thumb drive’ and keep in your pack.
- Have a portable ‘fire proof ‘ safe in your home for your digital stuff (inexpensive) . Keep where you can grab it as you leave.
For more information see www.dfes.wa.gov.au