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Why have an emergency kit? One Fort McMurray resident's story

Guest post by Andrew Hopkins

“Call me.”

That’s the text message that Dan Edwards woke up to on May 3, 2016. The message was from his boss. Dan had worked late the night before. It was 11 a.m., and his boss soon let him know that people were evacuating Fort McMurray. She was coming by to pick him up. The flames of an out-of-control wildfire were bearing down on several neighbourhoods across the city, including his home of Abasand.

“By the time that she got there to pick me up, it was ‘you’ve got 20 minutes to get out of Abasand,’” says Dan. “Things were getting really real, real quick.”

Dan Edwards was prepared to evacuate with his emergency kitThat’s when Dan grabbed his emergency kit. He had just enough time to get dressed, pick up important documents from his safe, and choose a few clothes out of his closet.

More than 2,700 homes burned in Northern Alberta that day. For Dan it’s a day he’ll never forget, and a big reason he will always have his emergency kit ready to go.

If you’ve had an emergency kit in your home for a few years without using it, it can sometimes be easy to think ‘why is this taking up space in my house?’

People like Dan can tell you why.

He wasn’t expecting to be gone for long, but he was ready with things like water, flashlights, some food and a can opener. He says that opener proved useful for getting into canned goods from the food bank.

“There [were] some really practical things in it that made things easier,” adds Dan. “Water is such an important thing because when you start getting stressed you will need more for hydration.”

Dan says now that he’s back in Fort McMurray he is adding an extra change of clothes, and another blanket to his kit.

He has some simple advice for others who may be putting off getting ready for an emergency.

“You never know when something’s going to come down,” says Dan. “I think it’s important for everyone to have [an emergency kit] in the house.” 
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