May 21st, 2024

City urging residents to be prepared for emergencies

By Lethbridge Herald on May 7, 2024.

Chief fire marshall Troy Hicks and emergency planning administrator Jamie Anderson are reminding residents to be prepared for emergency situations. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD –

This week marks Emergency Preparedness Week and the City of Lethbridge, along with the Lethbridge Fire Department, is reminding residents to be ready for future emergency situations. 

Jamie Anderson, Emergency Planning Administrator with the City of Lethbridge said Monday this year’s theme was “be prepared, know your risk.”

“That includes knowing what risk factors apply to your household and apply to your evacuation or emergency response if you have pets, if you have dependants or loved ones that you care for. Those are risk factors that you would need to take into consideration while you’re planning and making your emergency plans,” said Anderson. 

She said one message they are sharing this week is the importance of having a 72-hour kit, and how those kits will need to be prepared to fit each household’s particular needs. 

“If you have pets, do you have your pet foods? Do you have the supplies that you would need for them?” said Anderson.

She also mentioned for those who may use medications, to make sure they have what they need in the 72-hour kit or nearby so they can grab their medication in case of evacuation. 

Anderson also spoke about the importance of having emergency contacts somewhere other than just your phone.  She said to write them down or print them out and add the list of emergency contacts to the 72-hour kit, as well as copies of important documents such as passports and insurance information. 

Troy Hicks, Chief Fire Marshall, said the campaign was also focusing on the fact that the 72-hour kit was not only used in wildfire or flooding situations, but also in any type of residential disaster that may cause evacuation. 

“Having those kits is an amazing thing, with the medications, with phone lists, with all that stuff. It’s very important and it just helps ease the stress after having a structure fire and people losing items,” said Hicks. 

He added this helps those evacuated to continue on while they get back to normal. 

The City recommends that the 72-hour kits include water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, and other essentials tailored to each family’s specific needs including medication and pet supplies. And for those who already have an emergency kit, now is a good time to review and refresh it to ensure readiness. 

“One other thing I’d like to mention is about the importance of volunteers. Lethbridge is an amazing community. We’ve had scenes where we will have a structure fire, and when the fire department shows up, there’s already neighbours that are helping people get out of their homes and just getting them settled,” said Hicks. 

He said they have seen community members rally to make sure they have a warm place to go in, something to eat and something to drink. 

“We’ve been on big fire scenes and we’ve had neighbours come outside with cases of water for our firefighters. Regardless of how big Lethbridge gets, we’re still a small town and everyone has everyone else’s back, which we love to see. It makes me proud to work here in the city of Lethbridge,” said Hicks. 

To allow more residents to get involved, Anderson said the City is launching their emergency social services volunteer opportunity. She said emergency social services provides support to those tho have been evacuated from their home.  

“It’s that act of getting people back to basic needs and their basic accommodations. Things like food, clothing, if you have medications that you’ve left behind, how are we connecting people with pharmacies, those types of things,” said Anderson. 

She added that residents will have an opportunity to sign up to be a volunteer and to connect with City staff about Emergency Preparedness Week during a few events happening this week. 

“We have a draw for 72-hour kits. We have several engagement opportunities (this week) that you can come down and visit us, talk some emergency planning, emergency preparedness and lots of opportunity to ask questions,” said Anderson. 

City staff will be available to engage with the public about preparedness week at various locations. 

On Wednesday they will be at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Friday they will be at Cavendish Farms Centre Arena from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and at the Cor Van Raay YMCA from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. And on Saturday they will be at the Lethbridge Public Library Main Branch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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