“What happens to the residents of long-term care facilities in the Valley in case of an earthquake?”
This was one of the questions posed to Mike Fournier of Comox Valley Emergency Preparedness by Support Our Seniors at a recent meeting held at the Filberg Centre.
The answer was very disturbing.
The work of CVEP is for the community generally and with government cuts, even the residents of a facility might be on their own for 72 hours without outside assistance.
All the local facilities, whether private or public are mandated to have an emergency preparedness plan and emergency supplies but facilities have not been forthcoming when SOS has requested a copy of their emergency plan.
SOS started questioning facilities a year ago. When asked about the emergency plan for one facility, the administrator admitted that they did not have 72 hours worth of food and water for residents but assured the interviewer that in case of a major earthquake or disaster, they would call their suppliers. They also did not have a workable plan but were going to work on it.
Fournier has been approached by two local private facilities with their EP plans for his review to see if they were workable. But he has had no contact from other residences.
Since an expert resource is available, it would seem advisable that VIHA collaborate with and consult the Comox Valley Emergency Preparedness (CVEP) especially considering the large number of dependent seniors who might have to be evacuated if there were a major earthquake or disaster.
If you have a family member living in a local residence, ask for a copy of their emergency plan and find out if they have resources such as medications, water and food set aside for 72 hours. Ask where they would take the residents if an evacuation was required and whether arrangements are in place for that possibility.
If you want to be prepared for an emergency, whether for yourself or for a family member or for someone you provide care for, contact SOS for more information about a coming workshop they will host on emergency preparedness. Contact Jennifer at 250-334-2321.
Jennifer Pass is the president of Support Our Seniors. Ann Zanbilowicz is also on the executive.