Taber Fire Department gives tips for Emergency Preparedness Week

The first week in May for the Taber Fire Department was Emergency Preparedness Week. Steve Munshaw, Taber Fire Chief, discussed how this week is intended for each household in Taber to discuss what the plan is for an emergency and to create or maintain an emergency preparedness kit.

“Is everybody in your home prepared if an event happens? Say if a tornado comes through and you have to evacuate your home for 72 hours, are you ready with a go-bag? So you can go to the province of Alberta’s webpage and they can list all the emergency preparedness that you could imagine,” said Munshaw. “What happens if you have a flood, what if you have a house fire and if your home is destroyed by fire? What do you do or what could you do for your insurance? To catalogue all the things that are inside your home so you know and the insurance company knows what they need to be replaced? How many people typically do that right? So, all of the things that are in the event of an emergency, those things you need to be prepared for and this is the week to do it.”

During Emergency Preparedness Week, the Town of Taber website was updated daily with new things that people could do to prepare for eventual emergencies. Munshaw listed some examples that were posted on what town’s website.

“So we’re looking for insurance connections, the 72 hours go back, what do you do in any type of emergency, how do you check in with an emergency if an event happens in your community?” asked Munshaw. He then proceeded to talk about what steps you should take if you were coming back home during an ongoing emergency. “The first thing you’re going to want to do when coming in, is a check-in with the reception centre in your community,” said Munshaw. “Now where is the reception centre? We typically are going to host it at the (Taber Community) Centre, the auditorium portion, and if that is damaged, it would go to the next spot which is going to be the Heritage. Now, this stuff is going to come on to the radios, we would be getting it out in different aspects or you could just ask fire, police, and ambulance where it’s located. You want to check in with those situations or those places to make sure that your loved ones any, connections they’ll all go to those locations.”

Munshaw spoke on the wide variety of emergencies that could occur in southern Alberta and how it is important to take time to think about what you could do to prepare for such events.

“There are so many topics to be prepared for with Emergency Preparedness Week — from tornadoes, to fires, to floods, to flash floods, to plough winds,” said Munshaw. “You’ve seen that (winds) last January ripped roofs off homes. So we wanna be prepared for those things and what happens if there’s lots of information available on the Internet,” added Steve Swarbrick, assistant fire chief at the Taber Fire Department. “The webpage is a good resource, but making up kits doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make stuff up out of items in your home. There’s a lot of lists out there that can assist with that.”

When asked if making an emergency kit is a good first step, Munshaw replied, “of course. Take a backpack, an old school backpack make sure there’s some water, protein bars in there, matches, lighters, some flashlights so you can see things, cell phone charger. Just some main little items but there are so many kit lists out there. Are things just around your home that you can just throw into it and make sure that everybody in your home has one of these kits? It’s a grab bag — that means something happens you can grab it and you can leave your home with some basic food and drinking water so that you’re covered for a couple of hours.”

Swarbrick also added in, “and there are people who have those bags available already. So now, it’s a good time if they do of the bag to go through it and make sure that some of the food items are not expired, batteries are fresh, et cetera.”

Beyond just preparing a kit, Munshaw talked about other steps that people could take to ensure that they and their family are prepared for an emergency.

“Check that your home is prepared, how many people in your home know that if there is a fire that happens, and everybody has to run out of the home, where is your muster point? Has everybody in your home know where to go to meet up, because you don’t want your loved ones to be in the alley and you to be in the front yard and you don’t know where they are. We’ve had people get injured up way by trying to go back and looking for them when they’re already out.”

Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times