TO mark Emergency Preparedness (EP) Week, running May 7­–13, St. John Ambulance is encouraging British Columbians and residents of Yukon to take safety into their own hands to not just “be prepared” but rather to get “Emergency Ready”.

In a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid and St. John Ambulance, 34% of British Columbians rate their household’s overall level of emergency readiness as “excellent / good”, when actually only a staggering 7% of British Columbians are technically “Emergency Ready”.

The survey is the first to describe Emergency Readiness; with a focus on the stages residents must complete to become “Emergency Ready”. The survey findings reveal that only 7% of British Columbians are “Emergency Ready”, created an emergency plan, purchased an emergency supply kit and trained in first aid and CPR.

“Our charity is on a mission to get people SET for Safety with Safety Education and Tools at work, home and play and to be ‘Emergency Ready’. It is not enough for people to purchase a 72-hour emergency kit; to be really ready for any emergency, one needs to have an emergency plan, a kit of supplies, be trained to administer first aid and continue to maintain their supplies and skills for an emergency,” says Karen MacPherson, CEO of St. John Ambulance British Columbia and Yukon.

Other findings from the survey of British Columbians:

  • 11% have purchased an emergency supply kit and are certified in first aid
  • 15% have purchased an emergency supply kit
  • 17% have developed an emergency plan
  • 31% have someone in their home certified to administer first aid
  • Emergency Readiness is higher among men (39%) than women (30%)
  • Residents level of Emergency Readiness was higher from those in the North/Interior (42%) and on Vancouver Island (39%) vs. Metro Vancouver (28%)
  • 20% have an emergency kit in their vehicle
  • 30% have access to an emergency kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in their community
  • 25% have access to an emergency kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator) at work
  • 5% have access to an emergency kit or AED (Automated External Defibrillator) at home

While most people recognize the importance of emergency preparedness, not everyone has taken the steps necessary to get themselves, their family, and neighbourhoods emergency ready. The survey also found the residents stated the most concerning BC emergencies, with most personally concerned about their households being impacted by earthquake (64%) and household fire (64%), followed by an extended power outage (57%) and severe windstorm (54%).

St. John Ambulance states these findings are a true indication for people’s need to be aware that just by purchasing a kit or creating a plan, you are only halfway through the necessary stages of Emergency Readiness; Stage 1 – Create a plan, Stage 2 – Build a kit, Stage 3 – Train in first aid, and Stage 4 – Maintain your skills and supplies. Residents are getting messages and advertising to “be prepared “and purchase a kit, but to be ready for an emergency one must be self-sufficient with supplies for at least 72 hours and have the up-to-date skills to administer first aid as needed.

“After receiving the survey results, we realized how few people are truly ‘Emergency Ready’ in this province. We developed an ‘Emergency Ready’ marketing campaign to raise awareness of the 4 Stages of Emergency Readiness and to empower people to become real life superheroes in their lives by getting SET for an Emergency with Safety Education and Tools,” says Sandy Gerber, Director, Marketing, St. John Ambulance BC and Yukon.

As a charity, proceeds from training and product purchases help fund St. John Ambulance vital volunteer-based community care programs and services, such as Medical First Response, Therapy Dog, and Youth Leadership.