Time to prepare for emergencies

December 02, 2004, vol. 31, no. 7
By Julie Ovenell-Carter

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Old Man Winter has been playing coy so far this year, but don't be lulled into a false sense of confidence: make like a Boy Scout and be prepared for the vagaries of west coast weather - and more.

“Everyone in the SFU community should keep a grab-and-go kit at their desk and in their car for inevitable emergencies,” says university emergency planner Teresa Sharp. “Winter is the ideal time to invest in a portable comfort kit that will see you through unexpected situations. No one ever likes to think about being stranded by a snow closure, or even worse, an earthquake - but these things aren't inconceivable, and it's better to have anticipated your needs in advance.”

The SFU bookstore offers a basic kit for $34.17 which includes a safety-yellow backpack with the SFU logo, emergency food rations for three days, three packs of water, emergency foil blanket, whistle, antiseptic wipes, dust mask, light stick and toilet tissue.

Sharp recommends customizing these basic kits with additional personal items, such as money for payphones, a toothbrush, ear plugs, reading glasses, pen and paper, a small first aid kit, and essential medication - basically anything that might help to increase your comfort or ability to communicate in a crisis situation.

“In the car, you should carry extra items, such as booster cables and tools, at least four litres of water, non-perishable food, blankets and candles,” she says.

“Most importantly, keep your gas tank at least one-quarter full at all times - you don't want to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.”

SFU departments can order grab-and-go kits through central stores: visit human-resources/emergency/grab-go-kits.

For more information on emergency preparedness at home or work, call 604-291-6740 or e-mail: emerprep@sfu.ca

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