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Communication is key when dealing with emergencies: expert

Last Updated Aug 30, 2015 at 9:20 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Author believes using traditional media along with social media is the best way to get the word out during an emergency

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Many people are angry with BC Hydro and their lack of ability to get information to the people left in the dark.

Author and emergency preparedness expert Steve Prentice says using both traditional media like TV and Radio along with social media is the best way to calm people’s fears during¬†emergencies.

“You have to make the facts meet the fear. You have to give me statistics, numbers and images. Things that I can tangibly see and hear and even touch that say this is what our plan is going to be and this is how we are going to do it.”

So when the power goes out, he says companies must get information out to the people who need it. “I mean you want to make sure you have communications outbound for not just simply traditional media but social media including Twitter and Facebook, where more and more people are turning.”

He adds people will want to go to a website or find somewhere where they can get answers.

Be Prepared and have an Emergency Kit Ready

The weekend’s power outage may have you thinking about what you need to get through in a natural disaster.

You’ll need an emergency kit complete with water and non-perishable food for at least 72 hours for everyone in your family says Becky Row with the Canadian Red Cross.

She says there are other basics to add to your emergency preparedness bag.
“[You should have] Anything that your family may need that is special or unique to you that might be medication, things like diapers or formula for some of the smaller members of your family and even pet food.”

She reminds people to think about packing away things that will be useful in the event of a power outage.

“Manual can openers, flashlight of course, radio that’s either hand generated or battery operated, it’s really recommended that people have small denominations of cash,” lists Row.

Another thing people often forget, she advises to have your documents like ID and birth certificates ready to go in the event of an evacuation order.