Emergency Preparedness Week started on Sunday, and the City of Port Coquitlam is encouraging residents who want to get prepared for a disaster to look to the city for help.
City services may not be available for at least 72 hours after a major emergency such as an earthquake, flood or severe storm, according to a press release.
Port Coquitlam's emergency preparedness (EP) program has trained city staff and volunteers to assist the community in the aftermath of a disaster, and also offers a series of free one-day courses throughout the year to help residents prepare.
The city's emergency preparedness program is now headed by Tara Stroup, who comes to Port Coquitlam with a long history of civic service and emergency preparedness experience. Stroup was the former emergency preparedness officer in the City of Port Moody, and previously worked for the municipalities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Personal preparedness is a key component of PoCo's emergency preparedness program - the more residents can take care of themselves in the days immediately following a disaster, the more the city can focus on restoring services.
In 2012, the city changed the format for its free emergency preparedness courses to provide information on four different emergency preparedness topics in a single Saturday session: personal preparedness, rapid damage assessment, basic fire suppression, and light urban search and rescue (see below for details).
Registration is now being accepted for courses on May 26, Sept. 22 and Nov. 24.
All courses are held Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at No. 1 Fire Hall, 1725 Broadway St., and include refreshments.
Early registration is recommended as seating is limited.
Participants must be at least 16, and priority will be given to Port Coquitlam residents.
The sessions include hands-on components, so comfortable clothing is recommended.
More information about the courses is available at www. portcoquitlam.ca/ep.
To register, call 6049275466. Emergency preparedness tips and information - including a list of items to include in kits for your home, car and office - can be found at www.portcoquitlam.ca/ep.
One-day emergency preparedness training covers:
. Personal preparedness - Help yourself, your family, your coworkers and your neighbours in those first 72 hours and beyond.
. Basic fire suppression - Learn basic fire chemistry and classes of fire, how to use a fire extinguisher, and basic steps for fire response and intervention in the event of water, gas and electrical problems. Includes hands-on extinguisher training.
. Rapid damage assessment - Identify unsafe conditions in a single-family dwelling to help determine if your home is safe to occupy after an earthquake. Information is provided as general building/safety information; it does not certify you to be qualified to perform post-earthquake damage assessment.
. Light urban search and rescue - If someone is trapped in a home during a disaster, do you know how to identify if and how you can help? Learn what to do. Includes a hands-on component.