First off, kudos to the District of Port Hardy for its prompt and vigorous response to the area’s tsunami warning that followed last October’s earthquake off Haida Gwaii.
Anyone tempted to dismiss a complete rewrite of the local emergency plan as overreaction was certainly silenced when a second tsunami warning followed another large temblor off the coast of Southeast Alaska just after New Year’s.
The District continues to be proactive in readying itself for the next disaster. And whether it comes in 60 days or 60 years, as Mayor Bev Parnham has noted, it will come. This wonderful but wild land we call home is, after all, situated firmly astride the fault-riddled “Ring of Fire” that runs the length of coastlines on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
But our safety is not dependent solely upon a dozen elected, appointed or volunteer officials who gather around a conference table once a month to formulate policy.
In an emergency planning committee meeting held here last week, the subject of how to deal with non-ambulatory residents or those needing physical assistance was addressed. It quickly became apparent that the District and its first responders could not be responsible for the safety of every individual in the region, for myriad reasons of liability, confidentiality and manpower.
No, we all have to take a share of responsibility for our own readiness to ride out a natural disaster, starting with assembling an emergency kit and a personal emergency plan.
If you do require assistance, now is the best time to canvas family, friends, social services workers, health-care professionals or others you see on a regular basis to get the information you need.