Emergency preparedness could never be more timely
News of Alberta’s already troubling wildfire season is more than enough incentive to highlight the importance of everyone’s vigilance and preparedness.
The Municipality of Jasper’s Community-Wide FireSmart Day this week and the Emergency Preparedness Open House held on May 10 both serve to help locals get ready and stay ready.
Christine Nadon, Jasper’s director of Legislative and Protective Services, said that preparedness should be part of everyone’s routine.
“As Jasper residents, we know the risk is here,” she said.
“It’s a part of living in Jasper. It's really important to, really, any community, and with the ways the climate is going and our weather patterns and everything that's happening, the potential for disaster is arguably growing.
“The potential for disaster is not going away anytime soon, so we do need to be prepared.”
That means more than having and reading the Evacuation Guide, which offers a comprehensive set of instructions including how to build a 72-hour emergency kit and how to make an emergency plan.
It also means staying aware and connecting with alert services, as well as keeping an eye out for friends and neighbours. Living in a small town means that most residents know their neighbours.
Those connections are a vital part of FireSmart safety, Nadon said. If there are people on your block who don’t have mobile phones or vehicles, who are isolated in some way, or have physical mobility issues, then it’s important to keep in regular contact with them.
These are all elements of the regular routine that comes with being prepared.
“We're hoping we don't sound like a broken record every year, trying to get that message out there,” Nadon said.
Registering these people on the Vulnerable Persons Registry at Community Outreach Services is another important step to take.
All of this information is on the Municipality of Jasper’s website. People should also sign up for the Alberta Emergency Alert and for the Municipal Emergency System, Nadon said.
The Alberta Emergency Alert is activated when there is a threat to people’s safety, whereas the municipal system is more flexible to allow push notifications for other important messages.
“Making sure that you're signed up for those notifications is pretty key,” Nadon added.
Preparing for an emergency is one thing; helping to prevent one is another. That’s why the municipality is also organizing the Community-Wide FireSmart Day on Sunday. It’s a way for Jasperites to work together to help protect the town from a wildfire.
Everyone is being asked to pitch in and remove combustible debris from their yards and balconies. People can get free paper yard waste bags from Home Hardware (while supplies last). Place those filled bags in the parking lanes and the Operations department will pick it up. Please note that yard waste put in plastic bags will not be picked up.
Visit www.jasper-alberta.ca/p/firesmart for information.
Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh