Over the years it has become pretty clear that disasters happen.
They can run from limited tragedies like car crashes, wet basements or house fires all the way to earthquakes, floods and forest fires that escape containment and wipe out entire communities.
While the biggest concern in these parts - at this time of year - is the possibility of massive flooding of the Fraser River (and to a lesser extent, some of the local creeks and streams), we've had nearly all of the standard disasters played out in B.C.
We've even had the occasional hurricane, to mix up our expectations a bit.
We can't know exactly when or how a disaster will take place, and even when we have forewarning, as in a Fraser flood, it's difficult to judge the precise impact to expect.
That's why general preparedness is important for everyone.
And part of that has to be about being personally prepared, and knowing how, when the chips are down, to lend a hand to desperate neighbours. When disaster strikes, emergency workers may not reach everyone for several days.
This week is Emergency Preparedness Week across Canada. It's a national awareness campaign that encourages everyone to take three simple steps to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies:
. Know the risks specific to your community.
. Develop a family emergency plan and practise it.
. Prepare emergency kits for your home and your vehicle.
To learn more about being prepared for a disaster, visit the Emergency Management BC website at www.pep.bc.ca and the Public Safety Canada website at www.getprepared. gc.ca. And check out Page 21 for information on workshops planned for Port Coquitlam.