It’s Emergency Preparedness Week in Alberta, and as usual, the Town of Okotoks has plenty in store.

This year’s theme is “Building Preparedness Habits.”

Each day, the Town of Okotoks will be sharing tips on strategies on a wide range of emergency preparedness topics, and they’ve got some help from the Okotoks Fire Department.

It’ll culminate in an open house with a food truck, activities, and prizes.

Okotoks Fire Chief Trevor Brice says emergency prep is too often forgotten about until it's immediately needed.

“We sometimes forget to do something when it’s too late after the event. Certainly, coming out of COVID, a lot of people have already done some of that. Let’s build on that, make community connections, develop your own plan. There’s some figures from the province, only 16 per cent of Albertans have a community support system. Only 19 per cent of Albertans have a household emergency plan.”

Disaster and Emergency Management Coordinator Garth Misura says having everyone in the household in on emergency plans is sometimes forgotten.

“A really strong and resilient community is a community that’s very interconnected. All sorts of studies show that the more you know your neighbours, the stronger your community is in terms of a disaster. When we build kits, we ask people to build them so they can be self-sustaining for 70 hours. So, the better you know your neighbours, the more resources that community has in some sight of disaster.”

Another overlooked aspect of preparedness is having everyone in the household in on emergency plans.

“You need to talk about it with your kids. Where plans often fall down is ‘Okay, something happened during the day, my kids are at school, now what’s going to happen with them?’ What’s your goal? What are you going to do in the event the buses aren’t running? My poor kids used to say ‘Dad, you’re the only one that makes us do this.’ It’s true, if something happened, they had a pathway they knew to walk home on, and home would be the place we’d meet, and we’d go from there,” says Misura.

Emergency Preparedness Week wraps up on Saturday, May 13, with an open house at the curling rink which will include the Okotoks Fire Department, RCMP, municipal enforcement, and several non-profits.

A food truck, family activities, and door prizes are also planned.

The event will run from 11-2.

More information on emergency preparedness, including emergency kits, can be found on the town’s website.