How you can survive it! Interview: Jackie Kloosterboer

Meet Jackie Kloosterboer!
Meet Jackie Kloosterboer!

We’d like to introduce you to Jackie Kloosterboer! Jackie has worked a number of years within the emergency preparedness industry, and is the author of “My Earthquake Preparedness Guide.” We were thrilled to sit down with Jackie and discuss her role in preparedness, and how to encourage preparedness for families.

Here is Part 1 of our interview with Jackie:

Tell us a little about yourself!

Helping people get prepared for disasters is what I love to do.  For over 16 years I have been teaching people how to get themselves, their families and their pets ready for whatever disaster comes their way.  And working with the Justice Institute of BC, I have been fortunate to travel across Canada to teach volunteers how best to respond to disasters to help those who have been impacted. In 2013 I was awarded the Queens Jubilee Award for my dedication to emergency preparedness.

Responding to numerous emergencies and disasters, I see first-hand the difference it makes to you and your family when you are prepared.  This led me to write “My Earthquake Preparedness Guide – Simple Steps to get You, your Family and Pets Prepared” so I could share my knowledge and provide simple, easy to follow steps to help people and their pets get ready for a disaster.  I am really excited as now I can offer families a Home Preparedness Visit, where I go to their homes to help them identify what they can do to make their home safe for disasters, and provide them with the emergency kits they will need to survive whatever comes their way.

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In your book, My Earthquake Preparedness Guide, you discuss ways in which families can be better prepared for these natural disasters. What are some basic steps that families can take together to make preparedness a priority?

The first step in getting your family prepared is to create your Family’s Emergency Plan. Sit down with your family and clearly outline what you need to do before, during and after a disaster to help you and your family better survive it. Your plan will not work unless all family members are familiar with it.  You also need to practice the basic steps outlined in your plan such as evacuating your home, calling your out of area contact and finding a safe spot in each room in case of an earthquake – just to mention a few. A great time to practice your plan is when the clocks change. If you practice twice a year you and your family will know what to do when faced with any disaster. Practice does make perfect.

Emergency Kits are what you and your family will be relying upon to survive.  When your grocery, pharmacy or hardware stores are closed, you will not be able to run out and gather what you need. Your Family’s Emergency Kits need to be created before the disaster strikes so you have all the items you need.

Is it possible to make emergency planning with the family a fun activity? How so?

“You bet it can be fun developing your family’s emergency plan!  Better yet – when kids have fun creating their family’s emergency plan, they are going to remember what they need to do when disaster strikes.”

Make a game out of it – depending on the age of your kids you can have contests as you teach them how to evacuate your home, show them what to put in their Grab and Go Kits, and identify the hazards in your home and community.

What is a unique item you keep in your emergency kit?

Funny that you ask! When I started with the City of Vancouver I was asked to go on a local TV show as they wanted to talk about Grab and Go Kits. I was excited as I had just moved to Vancouver and had never been on TV before. My family, my kids, my friends and coworkers were all watching my big “TV Debut”.  The morning show anchor turned to me and said “Jackie – can you show us what you have in your Grab and Go kit.” I was so nervous my hands were shaking as I dug deep into my Grab and Go Kit.  I pulled out the first thing my hand landed on, and realized what I had just grabbed was a bag of makeup.  I have never lived that down – an emergency planner with make up in her Grab and Go Kit. Today, I still keep my make up in my Grab and Go kit but believe me – its buried way down deep in my Grab and Go Kit below my flashlight, radio, running shoes, medications and all those important items I need.

A huge thanks to Jackie for taking some time to talk preparedness with us! You can catch Part 2 of our interview with Jackie next week. Be sure to check out Jackie on Twitter at @Surviving_It for great information and updates!

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