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What can the rest of us learn from this past day’s disaster in Japan?  Watching live footage of the tsunamis devastating the landscape, or fires burning at refineries, you can’t help but wonder if your community would fare any better. 

People in many countries along the Pacific Rim have been warned to move to 50 feet above sea level (6 floors in a building) in wake of the threat of tsunami waves hitting their shores.  To a greater or lesser extent, coastlines around the globe will all eventually feel the ripple effect of the 8.9 earthquake that originated just off the coast of Japan.

I once saw a television crew set up in the location pictured above, filming a forest fire along the eastern shore that was blazing across the water.  Viewed from a safe distance, disasters can be mesmerizing, but experienced up close, they’re a different story altogether.  At a recent workshop on climate change held in Eastern Passage, one of the questions residents were asked was what our evacuation strategy would be in the event of a disaster.  What roads would we take in order to reach safety? 

Once again, watching live footage taken from a helicopter of the disaster in Japan today, it was clear that many vehicles were travelling on roads that were leading towards disaster instead of away from it.  From the ground, it’s often difficult to determine the best route to safety.  A prepared plan of action would make a big difference in a crisis situation.

Be Prepared… the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.

~ Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Is your household prepared for disaster of any type?  If you live along the coast, do you know if your elevation is low enough to require evacuation in case of flooding?  If you had to evacuate, what route would you take?  Where would you go, and would you have enough gas in your vehicle to get you there?  It’s never too early to make plans to seek higher ground. 

If you would like to find out the altitude of any point on the planet, an application that makes use of Google Maps can be found at Daft Logic.

For more information on emergency preparedness in Nova Scotia, see Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office.

 

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