Natural Disaster in Vancouver – Are you Ready?


With the recent fires in Slave Lake, earthquakes in New Zealand, and tsunamis in Japan, how prepared are you for the “Natural Disaster” that could strike our part of the world? Have you even thought about it? Here are ten points to consider and help you prepare for an event right here in Vancouver.

10. Money. Have a few hundred dollars in small bills on hand because the banking system might not be up and running.

9. Check In Contact. Do you have an out-of-town contact? After a disaster local communication can be a challenge, as infrastructure may be damaged. Appoint an out-of-area contact that you and your friends and family can check in with to find out if others are accounted for and okay.

8. Water. Do you know how much water you will need? You need a minimum three-day supply, and per person, you need a minimum of 1 gallon (4 litres) per day. So, for a family of 4 that is 12 gallons or 48 litres of water for three days, minimum.

7. Shelter. Where will your local emergency shelters be located? Often they are schools and community centres, but you should find out ahead of time. Likely they will have some supplies, but they should not be relied upon as your go-to source for resources in a disaster. The city of Vancouver has a great site, see:  http://

6. Insurance. Have you reviewed your insurance coverage lately? You can get earthquake insurance separate from your regular coverage, or as part of your homeowner’s policy. Depending on the style and age of home you may or may not feel the need to get it. For example, if you live in a brick home or have a heritage home with a stone foundation, you may be a good candidate for the extra coverage. As an investor, what happens if your revenue property burns down? The mortgage will still be due, so consider whether you have insurance to cover your loss of revenue. Also consider betterment and deductable insurance. Talk to an insurance professional for advice.

5. Natural gas. Don’t automatically turn off your gas. After a disaster you need to be very careful, of course. But, if you do not smell or sense any trouble with your gas line, do not shut it off. The reason for caution in shutting it off is because it could take several days for your utility provider to turn it back on again. Depending on the time of year, having no fuel could create other serious issues.

4. Emergency kit. First and foremost, keep a pair of solid shoes and heavy gloves under your bed in case there is broken glass on the floors. You should also have a wind up or battery-powered radio, flashlight/candles (plus extra batteries), non-perishable food (enough for a minimum 3 days), blankets, water purification tablets, first aid kit, extra batteries and money. Try to make it mobile, in a back pack or bin stored with quick and easy access. Many people keep their emergency kit in their garage or entry closet. Also consider keeping one in your vehicle. Also check out

3. Secure heavy items. If you have heavy furniture such as bookcases or an entertainment centre, make sure it is secured to the walls. Your hot water tank should be secured as well. Did you know that it can also be used as a source for water in emergencies? (Believe it or not your toilet holding tank is also a source for emergency water too!)

2. Meet up location. Life can be rather eventful and considering many people are not at home for much of the day, a previously agreed-upon meeting location is an important part of your plan. Will you meet at home, or perhaps at your children’s school? Do you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get home; will you be able to meet up together? Talk it through with your family to decide where to go and in what circumstance (i.e. weekend or weekday) you might use a Plan B.

1. Your priority items. If you were told you had to leave your home in 30 seconds, what would you grab? Many things in life can be replaced but some things cannot be acquired ever again! What about your pets? Take some time to think about which items you would want to get first and then learn where they are. Would you want to take a photo album? Jewellery? Safe deposit box key? (A safety deposit box keeps important documents like wills, passports and marriage certificates safe from fire, but the key can be hard to find in a destroyed home!)

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