City Encourages Residents To Prepare For Storm Season
With a couple of heavy precipitation storms predicted for this week– it is likely to be the first of many this fall and winter – Port Coquitlam is encouraging residents to make sure they are prepared for any emergency.
The influx of heavy rainfall can overwhelm drainage systems and lead to flooding, particularly in low-lying areas. High winds can topple trees, bring down power lines and send branches and debris flying.
While there is no way to predict how badly Port Coquitlam will be affected, severe weather events are becoming more of the norm and local residents and businesses are urged to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.
Emergency preparedness information can be found at portcoquitlam.ca/ep including Are You Prepared?, a practical guide explaining what to do before, during and after a major emergency such as a major storm, earthquake or flood. Printed copies are also available at City facilities. Other resources include a business emergency preparedness toolkit and free community courses, which are offered throughout the year.
Download the Alertable App
Residents can download the Alertable app at any time, and begin receiving Port Coquitlam alerts.
This new service allows subscribers to stay up-to-date with emergency alerts – such as fires, floods, earthquakes, storms and other hazards in the community. The Alertable app can be downloaded for free through the App Store, Google Play or links at portcoquitlam.ca/alertable.
Alertable app notifications can be personalized by type, severity and sound level. The app also does not require widespread user tests, as with other emergency notification systems.
All app users receive Critical Alerts for large-scale emergencies and natural disasters, including evacuation alerts and orders.
Tips for getting prepared:
- Review the resources at portcoquitlam.ca/ep and consider signing up for a free course.
- Create an emergency plan that every household member knows, and practice it regularly. The plan should include information on how to shut off the electricity and natural gas, safe meeting places outside the home, an out-of-province contact, and plans for pets and livestock.
- Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours: If the power goes off, it may take hours or even days for it to be restored. Always have at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand for each family member, along with a windup or battery-powered radio, flashlight and batteries, extra prescription medications, copies of important papers, and seasonally appropriate apparel (e.g. warm clothing and waterproof footwear) for every family member.
- Pack up extra supplies, keys, contact information and copies of critical paperwork in a portable grab and go kit (e.g. a backpack) that you could take with you if necessary. Store it in an easy-to-reach place and make sure everyone knows where it is.
Tips for before a major storm:
- Keep nearby catchbasins clear of debris to help prevent street flooding, and report damaged catchbasins to portcoquitlam.ca/report or the free PoCo Sort & Report app (portcoquitlam.ca/sortreport),
- Move personal items from low lying areas to prevent loss.
- Move your vehicle to street level parking if parked in an underground parkade.
- Charge devices and rechargeable battery packs before the storm hits. If you have a portable generator, make sure you know how to use it safely and never run it inside the home or in an enclosed space. Battery-operated lighting is safer than candles.
- Review and update your personal or family emergency kit and emergency preparedness plan; inclusive of:
- ensuring each family member has identification. For example, name tags on children’s clothing, wallet cards and wristbands are useful in case you are separated;
- reminding family members of your family emergency meeting place and out-of-area contact person; and
- identifying communication channels that you will use to stay apprised of the potential event, e.g. monitoring the City’s social media, website and downloading the City’s Alertable app to receive life-saving information during an event.
Tips for during a major storm:
- Report flooding, trees of concern, fallen branches or other issues on City property at portcoquitlam.ca/report, calling 604-927-3111 or on the PoCo Sort & Report app. Trees on private property are the owner’s responsibility.
- Report downed power lines to 911 and BC Hydro: 1-888-POWER-ON. If you come across a downed or damaged power line, stay back at least 10 metres (30 feet).
- Only call 911 when there is imminent danger to people or property, and immediate police or fire assistance is required. This includes incidents related to an ongoing emergency, fire or crime in progress, or suspicious people in the area.
- Call the non-emergency numbers for Coquitlam RCMP (604-945-1550) or Fire & Emergency Services (604-927-5466) when there is no immediate emergency.
- Limit travel when possible. If absolutely necessary, drive, bike or walk carefully, and do not enter flooded roads or pathways. Watch for debris and use four-way stop procedures at intersections when signals aren’t working.
- Limit opening your fridge and freeze to preserve food if you are impacted by a power outage. If the power is out for an extended period, carefully inspect all food and do not eat any food you think may not be safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Check on neighbours who may need help, such as seniors, people with special needs, or families with young children.
- For additional information monitor the City’s website and social media accounts for additional information and visit portcoquitlam.ca/sportsfields for field closure information and status updates or call 604-927-5455 for a recorded email@example.com.
Port Coquitlam’s Emergency Preparedness Program prepares civic employees, residents and businesses for the effects of a disaster or major emergency. The City has trained employees in emergency operations and personal family preparedness, and offers a variety of resources to assist the community in the event of an emergency.
For information about the program (inclusive of volunteer opportunities), contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-927-5460.
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam