Total Prepare Introduces OBARs: The First Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Nut Free Ration Bar in Canada

Victoria BC, Canada (Newsworthy.ai) Tuesday Feb 27, 2024 @ 8:00 AM Central —

Total Prepare, Canada’s premier source for emergency preparedness solutions, proudly unveils an innovative new product: OBARs. These nutrient-packed ration bars cater to individuals with dietary restrictions, offering a wholesome and convenient snack option for everyday consumption and emergency scenarios alike.

In a world where dietary needs are diverse and essential, OBARs emerge as a long-awaited solution for allergen-free emergency ration bars. Only available in Canada through Total Prepare, these are the first bars of their kind in the country – their extended shelf life makes them ideal for emergency kits and grab-and-go bags.

OBARs are vegan, non-GMO bars boasting a remarkable 5-year shelf life, making them indispensable for emergency preparedness. With each bar containing 7 grams of plant-based protein and 300 calories, they provide sustenance in times of need without compromising on flavor or quality.

What sets OBARs apart is their commitment to clean ingredients and allergen-free composition. Free from peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soybeans, wheat, and other common allergens, they provide peace of mind to individuals with sensitivities or dietary restrictions.

Whether as a snack or a vital component of emergency kits, OBARs deliver convenience and peace of mind with every bite. The bars are light, packable, and ideal for on-the-go consumption during emergencies or everyday adventures.

“At Total Prepare, we believe that everyone deserves peace of mind, regardless of dietary restrictions,” said Zenia Platten, Marketing Manager at Total Prepare. “Our commitment to offering gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options culminates in the introduction of OBARs. We’re proud to provide a diverse range of emergency food solutions, and OBARs represent a significant step forward in meeting the needs of our customers.”

Key Features of OBARs include:

  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Nut-free (including tree nuts and peanuts)
  • Soybean-free
  • Egg-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Halal and Kosher
  • Nutrient-dense, raw ingredients for optimal nutrition
  • Non-GMO and made in the USA
  • Up to 5 years of shelf life

Total Prepare offers organizational pricing for bulk orders of 175+ bars, making OBARs accessible to institutions, businesses, and community organizations.

For more information about OBARs or to place an order, visit totalprepare.ca or contact hello@totalprepare.ca.

About Total Prepare:

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in British Columbia, Total Prepare is Canada’s leading provider of emergency preparedness products. Offering a comprehensive range of survival kits, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), freeze-dried and dehydrated emergency food, water storage solutions, and more, Total Prepare is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities to prepare for unforeseen emergencies.


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hospital emergency kit

Building a Hospital Emergency Kit

 

Lessons Learned

In January 2018, an evacuation order was issued to the BC towns of Bella Coola and Bella Bella due to a tsunami warning. The evacuation process took longer than expected, but the communities coordinated to evacuate the population, including hospital patients. Although the evacuation order was lifted just a few hours later, the event identified the need for robust and accessible emergency supplies. Just 3 years later, the 2021 floods caused over $450 million dollars of damage in BC. The Fraser Valley was one of the hardest hit areas and the critical situation there reinforced the need for emergency supply containers for large organizations across the province.

These events and others spurred Squamish General Hospital into action. Having only one major route to their hospital, they knew it could be days before supply lines would be re-established if an earthquake, wildfire, or flood were to cut off access to Highway 99.

 

The Task

To support the hospital in case of a major disaster, Health Emergency Management British Columbia (HEMBC) worked with the hospital’s emergency management committee to develop a plan for an emergency supply container on site. The container would have to store a range of necessities including flashlights, bedding, and medical supplies along with three days of food and water for clerical and medical staff – something hospitals don’t typically provide but would be critical in an extended event if staff were required to stay overnight. “It was important to the site to have staff rations available which include one to two litres of water per person, per day,” said Christine Turenko, Health Emergency Management Specialist.

 

A Short Timeline

Isabel Wood from Total Prepare was then brought into the picture. The order needed to be placed before the fiscal year-end, creating a small window for the quote to be created. There was a list of specific items that needed to be sourced to meet the needs of the hospital. Several different distributors and manufacturers became involved.

The Logistics

Equipping an emergency container involves a lot of moving parts. First, there’s the container itself, which should have adequate ventilation and insulation to keep the container cool in the summer. This allows food stored inside to last for its full shelf life. It also makes the container more useful as a possible emergency shelter or command center, if the need should arise.

Supplies need to be curated from a long list of possibilities based on budget and the organization’s specific needs. In the case of Squamish General Hospital, they also organized a distribution point in Langley to organize the supplies before driving them up to Squamish and the waiting container. Many components were assembled at Total Prepare in Victoria, while others were shipped directly to the Langley distribution point for maximum efficiency.

A Team Effort

Building an emergency kit for an entire hospital presents unique challenges, requiring flexibility and teamwork for success. “There were a lot of moving pieces to coordinate,” says Christine Turenko, “I couldn’t have done this on my own and am grateful for such a strong team effort.” It was a group effort from the project managers at Squamish Hospital, HEMBC and Total Prepare, working together to complete this vital supply storage. Based on the Squamish Hospital project, HEMBC hopes for future containers to be made available in other rural and remote communities in B.C.

Planning for an organization?

If you are organizing an emergency kit, container, or program for any large group of people, Total Prepare can help. We have experience assisting all sizes of businesses, at all levels of government, and with organizations like universities, hospitals, and emergency managers. Whether you are working to equip a site with cabinet kits and supply containers, or preparing an EOC or reception center, our team wants to work with you to ensure you have everything you need. Give us a call at 778-265-5331 or send an email to sales@totalprepare.ca.

A woman wearing a backpack kit with a variety of femenine hygeine products peeking out

Emergency Preparedness: Essential Menstrual Products for Women

Thank you to Giada Lemmens, the author of the book The Period Prepper, for writing this guest post. Please be advised that it contains language relating to female anatomy and femenine hygeine products.

A woman wearing a backpack kit with a variety of femenine hygeine products peeking out

During an emergency disaster one of the sought after items are period products.

In November 2021, the Fraser Valley was engulfed by vast amounts of flooding that would later be called The 2021 Pacific Northwest Floods. People were stuck in their homes as emergency crews worked around the clock to clear highways and repair infrastructure. As a result, grocery store shelves cleared faster than employees could restock, and due to the flooding, delivery trucks could not deliver necessary goods fast enough to replenish supplies.

During emergency disasters like this, one of the most requested items is menstrual products. In the beginning of an emergency, local charities have some supply, but they can quickly run out as the demand for these products grows. This is why it’s essential to be proactive and prepare your own emergency period kit so that, should a flood or any emergency disaster happen again, you and the women in your home will be prepared. Here are some necessary products to consider adding to your emergency period kit:

  1. Disposable Menstrual Pads and Tampons: You may already have some in your bathroom cabinet. Disposable products are very useful for situations where you don’t have access to clean water. While in November 2021, we were fortunate with our drinking water remaining intact, extreme flooding can cause pollutants and heavy debris to enter the water system, making it undrinkable. Disposable menstrual products are single-use and don’t need to be washed, making them an excellent addition to any kit.
  2. Cloth Pads: Cloth pads are the reusable version of a disposable pad. After using, simply wash and hang to dry. They are very well constructed, and with proper care, can last around 10 years. Cloth pads come in many different shapes, styles, and fabrics, making there a wide variety to choose from.
Cloth pads in a variety of sizes and designs

There are a wide variety of reusable cloth pads on the market.

3. Period Underwear: Period Underwear looks like regular underwear but has built-in period protection. They are a must-have for any emergency period kit, whether you use them by themselves or with other menstrual products. If you have to evacuate your home and sleep at an emergency shelter or a family member or friend’s home, using period underwear with your overnight pad or other period products will provide an additional layer of protection so you can sleep restfully without leaking.

A pair of period underwear in burgundy.

Period underwear are a helpful addition to any emergency period kit. These ones are from Treehugger Cloth Pads (treehuggerclothpads.com)

4. A Reusable Menstrual Cup or Disc: A menstrual cup is a reusable period product that sits in the vaginal canal. Unlike tampons, which absorb blood, a menstrual disc will collect it to be dumped later. A reusable disc is similar to a cup but fits differently. It also sits higher in the body, past the vaginal canal, in the vaginal fornix directly underneath the cervix. I highly recommend researching online to see if a menstrual cup or disc is right for you and how to properly select one based on your body. A regular menstrual cup or disc user can get away with packing a much smaller period kit because a menstrual cup or disc can be reused multiple times and with proper care can last for years.

Examples of a menstrual cup and menstrual disks.

Left: A reusable menstrual cup from Diva Cup. Right: Two reusable menstrual discs in different sizes.

5. Important Medications: If you use hormonal birth control, speak to your doctor about getting a one-month supply to store in your kit, plus a written prescription. This way, if you have to evacuate to another town, you will still be able to get your prescription. The same is true if you take other prescription medications.

If you are prone to yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and other vaginal irritation, you are very susceptible to a flare-up of your symptoms during an emergency situation because of the increase in stress. Your environment may also be less sanitary. Non-prescription medicines such as Canesten, Vagisil, lysine, cranberry extract, and other medicine are essential, even if you have not had these issues in a long time. I would avoid buying vaginal washes and soaps since these can have irritants that increase the likelihood of vaginal irritation.

Pain medication to ease menstrual cramps is a must have in your kit. You will want to select a brand that you are most familiar with using but make sure it’s in tablet form and not gel capsules. Gel caps can leak and alter in hot and cold weather whereas hard tablets last much longer. 

These are some of the main period products to incorporate into your emergency period kit. If you have these set aside in a travel bag, you are off to a great start. To learn more about what period products to include in your kit and other menstrual health information from an emergency preparedness perspective, check out my book “The Period Prepper – Make Your Own Period Kit for Emergency Preparedness and Survival” on Amazon. For more information, visit theperiodprepper.com.

 

This guest post was written by Giada Lemmens, the author of the book The Period Prepper – Make Your Own Period Kit for Emergency Preparedness and Survival. She teaches women how to create their own period kit for extreme weather and other emergencies. If you like giveaways and prepping advice be sure to check her out on Instagram @theperiodprepper and theperiodprepper.com. 

emergency planning with children

Emergency Preparedness with Children

With school fast approaching, parents are busy preparing for classes- whether it be preschool or high school. But what about preparing for emergencies at home and at school?

Disaster can strike at any time, leaving communities vulnerable and shaken. While adults often receive training on disaster preparedness and are generally more emotionally capable of dealing with stressful events, it is especially crucial to educate children on these matters and to acknowledge that fear is natural to feel. Teach them coping strategies to manage fear, anxiety, or stress. Encourage open communication and active listening during and after emergencies. Offer comfort and reassurance to help them process their emotions. By providing a safe space for children to express themselves, we can strengthen their resilience and emotional well-being. Involving your children in preparation not only instills more confidence during these stressful times and gives them a sense of direction and empowerment in the case of disaster. This empowerment is especially relevant with teens who may be assisting with caring for younger children, and who also should be gaining more responsibility and life skills where possible to in preparation of when they leave the nest.

Opening the Discussion

Just like discussing any other “Difficult Subject Matter” with your child, the key to teaching your child emergency preparedness is age-appropriate language. As soon as your child is old enough to be learning their ABCs and numbers, they are old enough to start learning what to do in emergencies- whether power outages or tornadoes. Not discussing the risks in your area causes them to be even more stressful if, and when, they do occur. Do not teach all disasters in one day however, it will be overwhelming!

Make your lessons understandable and encourage questions from your children, and do not dismiss them. Use fun kid-friendly videos, books, games, and other resources to make your discussions more engaging. Safewise, a US-based security company has compiled a great list of resources that can be found here. Tailor lessons to your child’s maturity level and age-group, you do not want to overwhelm your little ones. Teach your local risks, and focus on the most relevant aspects, such as knowing emergency contacts and where to find the information, recognizing warning signs, and understanding safe places to go during a disaster. As children grow older, discussions can delve deeper into different types of disasters and appropriate response strategies. If your child asks questions that you may feel are “too scary”- do not dismiss them, if you need to figure out a way of answering them in an age-appropriate way, acknowledge the question and look up a way to answer it in a positive manner and come back to it. With knowledge comes confidence, and as we always say: “Be Prepared, Not Scared.”

The Importance of Preparedness Plans and Practicing

 

 

Make an emergency plan for your family, with your family. Get Prepared Canada has a downloadable PDF for a household preparedness guide that can be filled out together, and most provinces have similar printed handouts in public activity centers such as pools or that can be ordered for free online. It only takes about 20 minutes to make an emergency plan.

Children need to be aware of the family’s disaster preparedness plan, and repetition is key to learning. Every few months to annually, discuss evacuation routes, rendezvous points, and communication procedures. Your family may not be together in the event of an emergency. Plan how to meet or contact one another and discuss what to do in different situations. Keep a copy of the plan with contact numbers in your child’s backpack with other important documents such as a copy of their birth certificate and medical information and pictures of their loved ones.

For emergencies at home, discuss with your child when to evacuate and when to shelter in place. Have your children either draw the layout of your house on graph paper, or use a colouring sheet, and figure out the ways to get out of the home via different routes, and where the outside exits and emergency kits are, and label the outside meeting place. Discuss what routes are fastest and why, and what to do if one route is blocked. Practice evacuation plans, and other various disaster situations, and repeat with variations. If you live in an apartment, make sure that your route does not involve elevators.

Engaging your children

Involve your child in checking your emergency kit annually. Encourage them to participate in creating a small kit of their own to be responsible for with some extra supplies, and some favourite toys and games, but make sure it’s light enough that they can carry it. Having activities available for your child during an emergency is a great way to keep their minds occupied- but do ensure that these do not require electricity. Engaging children in these activities not only teaches practical skills but also helps them feel involved and in control during times of crisis.

practicing what to do during a disaster is crucial in helping children remember and internalize the necessary actions. Conduct regular drills for different types of emergencies, such as fire drills, earthquake drills, or tornado drills. These simulations can be fun and educational, turning preparation into a game while reinforcing the right behaviors to follow in real-life situations.

For emergencies at school, ask about the school or daycare’s emergency policies. Find out how they will contact families during an emergency, and what authorization the school or daycare requires to release your child to a designated person if you cannot pick them up. Some schools require parents to provide an emergency supply kit for their children, some schools will provide these supplies themselves. We carry a variety of emergency kits and comfort kits. If you are a member of a PAC or school faculty, we do offer institutional discounts and fundraiser opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Understanding Community Resources

It is up to you to provide for your family in an emergency but do familiarize children with local emergency services and resources available in the community. Explain how these people will help support them in a disaster. Show them where to seek shelter in public buildings or designated safe zones in their neighborhoods. Introduce them to first responders or local volunteers who play essential roles during emergencies. Understanding the support network within their community will give children a sense of security and trust.

Conclusion

Preparing children for disasters is not just about imparting knowledge; it is about building resilience and confidence in their abilities to face challenges. By engaging in age-appropriate discussions, practicing drills, and fostering emotional support, children can become active participants in their own safety. Educators, parents, and communities must work together to equip the younger generation with the tools they need to navigate through emergencies successfully. By doing so, we ensure a safer and more resilient future for all.

Nuclear plant

The Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant: What Canadians should know

The Zaporizhzhia Ukraine Nuclear power plant

Ukraine Nulclear Plant The Ukraine nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia is an important global issue.  It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and contains 6 nuclear reactors.  The power plant is currently under Russian control since March 2022.  Because of the unstable situation of the war of the Ukraine, there has been worldwide concern regarding the safety of this nuclear plant.  If there was an explosion there, an area of up to 30,000 square kilometers around the plant could be effected.

As a precaution,  in August 2022, Global Affairs Canada distributed potassium iodide pills to to Kyiv and diplomats in the surrounding area.

 

 

Why Canadians should take notice

In May of 2023 the Nuclear Regulators’ Association  released this statement regarding the Ukraine Nuclear powerplant in Zaporizhzhia:

“We, the members of the International Nuclear Regulators’ Association (INRA), comprising the national nuclear regulators from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, continue to be gravely concerned about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the potential serious impacts on the safety and security of its nuclear power plants and facilities.

Consistent with the statement we released in September 2022, INRA members continue to fully support the efforts of the Ukrainian nuclear regulator to maintain safe and secure nuclear facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has fulfilled an essential role in ensuring that accurate and up-to-date information is available on the status of the nuclear facilities, and INRA members remain committed to providing support to the IAEA to enable it to maintain its programme of assistance and assurance monitoring in Ukraine.

We commend the courage, dedication and extraordinary efforts of workers who have placed themselves at risk to ensure the continued safety of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian nuclear regulator, its operator and the people of Ukraine.” –source

Canadian Nulcear Facilities

 

The focus on the Ukraine nuclear power plant has highlighted the need to bolster precautions here in Canada. Canada has its own nuclear facilities located in British Columbia, Ontario, and New Brunswick. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC),  sets strict standards for the safe operation of nuclear facilities and the handling of nuclear materials. Plans are in place to deal with the potential effects of an uncontrolled release of radioactivity, including direct exposure or eating contaminated food. Potassium Iodide pills are recommended for residents in the proximity of these plants.

 

 

Potassium Iodide Pills

potassium iodide pills Potassium iodide pills are a medication that contains stable iodine in the form of potassium iodide. They are commonly used in nuclear emergency situations or during radiation exposure to protect the thyroid gland from radioactive iodine.

During a nuclear incident or release of radioactive materials, such as a nuclear power plant accident or nuclear detonation, there is a risk of releasing radioactive iodine into the environment. The thyroid gland is particularly sensitive to absorbing radioactive iodine, which can lead to thyroid cancer and other thyroid-related health issues.

By taking potassium iodide pills, the thyroid gland becomes saturated with stable iodine, which helps to block the absorption of radioactive iodine. The stable iodide competes with the radioactive iodine, preventing it from being taken up by the thyroid gland and reducing the risk of radiation-related thyroid damage.

Conclusion

Nuclear plant The Ukraine nuclear power plant situation serves as a reminder of the potential risks involved with these facilities. Countries worldwide, including Canada, have dedicated efforts to establish robust safety protocols, ensuring the secure operation of nuclear facilities and the responsible handling of nuclear materials. Measures like potassium iodide pills serve as vital tools during nuclear emergencies to protect vulnerable populations from harmful radioactive exposure. As technology advances and global cooperation strengthens, the commitment to nuclear safety remains steadfast, reaffirming the collective responsibility to harness the benefits of nuclear energy while mitigating potential risks. Through a combination of vigilance, innovation, and informed decision-making, the international community can continue to promote nuclear safety and pave the way for a safer, sustainable, and more secure nuclear future.

 

Want to Learn more about our potassium iodide pills?

Fire Evacuation

5 Reasons You Should Evacuate Instead of Fighting a Forest Fire

Introduction

Fire Evacuation In the face of a raging forest fire, it is essential to prioritize personal safety and the preservation of life above all else. This blog post aims to shed light on the reasons why evacuating rather than fighting a forest fire is the wisest course of action. We will explore the rapid spread of wildfires, the lack of resources and training for individuals, the dangers of toxic smoke and air quality, the vulnerability of structures, and the importance of relying on professional firefighting resources. Let us delve into the critical reasons why evacuation should be the top priority during a forest fire.

 

1. Rapid Fire Spread

One of the most compelling reasons to evacuate during a forest fire is the unpredictable and rapid spread of the flames. Fires can move swiftly, propelled by wind and dry conditions, making them challenging to control or contain. Within moments, what appears to be a manageable fire can quickly grow into an overwhelming inferno, endangering anyone attempting to confront it without the necessary expertise and equipment.

2. Lack of Resources and Training

Individual homeowners and community members often lack the resources and training required to effectively combat a forest fire. Firefighting is a specialized field that demands extensive knowledge, experience, and access to specific equipment. Attempting to tackle a fire without proper training and resources can lead to ineffective firefighting efforts and increased personal risk.

3. Toxic Smoke and Air Quality

Forest fires generate copious amounts of toxic smoke, which poses significant health risks. Inhaling smoke can cause respiratory problems, worsen existing conditions, and have long-term consequences for lung health. The air quality surrounding a forest fire rapidly deteriorates, making it unsafe to remain in the vicinity. Evacuation becomes crucial to safeguard individuals from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation and to protect their overall well-being.

4. Structural Vulnerability

Homes and structures are highly vulnerable to the intense heat and flames of a forest fire. The radiant heat alone can ignite combustible materials, even at a distance from the main fire front. Without proper firefighting equipment and protective measures, it is incredibly challenging to ensure the safety and protection of buildings. Evacuating not only ensures personal safety but also reduces the risk of property damage and loss.

5. Professional Firefighting Resources

Relying on professional firefighters is paramount during a forest fire. These brave first responders undergo extensive training and possess the necessary equipment to effectively combat wildfires. Firefighting teams have the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle the complexities of large-scale fire suppression. By evacuating, individuals allow these professionals to focus on their critical tasks without distractions, ensuring a more effective and coordinated response to the fire.

Conclusion

When faced with a forest fire, the safety and preservation of life should be the utmost priority. Evacuating rather than fighting the fire is the most prudent and responsible action to take. The rapid spread of wildfires, lack of resources and training, dangers of toxic smoke and air quality, vulnerability of structures, and the availability of professional firefighting resources all contribute to the importance of evacuation. By heeding evacuation orders and relying on trained experts, individuals can minimize personal risk and support the overall efforts to control and extinguish the fire. Let us remember that our lives and well-being are irreplaceable, and evacuation is a vital step to ensure our safety during a forest fire.

To be better prepare for an emergency situation, check out our blog on having a family emergency drill here: http://totalprepare.ca/family-emergency-drill-how-to-prepare/

Regina Cyclone

The Deadliest Tornado in Canadian History

Author’s note: There are some events that were so long ago, that there is a sentiment that they are irrelevant, no matter how impactful there were at the time.  

Although the following event took place over 100 years ago, the outcome and survival of those involved have direct effect on the person I am today.

 

‘Cyclone hits Regina. City in ruins.’

That six-word message, received in the Winnipeg Telegraph Office shortly before five p.m. on Sunday, 30 June 1912, announced the most destructive cyclone in Canadian history.

-John E. Stewardson

 

June 30th 1912

It was a humid, muggy day, and there was a strange stillness over the streets of Regina on that Sunday afternoon.  Banners and decorations hung from lamp posts and buildings in preparation for Dominion Day (1912 was Canada’s 45th birthday), giving the city a celebratory air.

Ominous clouds were seen folding together outside of the city limits. Thunderstorms were common in this area, and there was no way for Regina’s citizens to know that this was no ordinary storm clouds. A large cloud funnel formed and touched down with great force at Wascana Lake, just South-east of the city.

 

20 Minutes

Instruction was given to immediately sound the alarm to warn the city, but by the time it was sounded, the tornado was already on it’s destructive path. With winds estimated to exceed 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour), the twister destroyed several farms on the outskirts of the city.

Saskatchewan Homestead

 

Author’s note: My great grandparents were in one of these farms.  Their wooden house was obliterated, and they were thrown without warning over 100 feet from where there house once was.  My great grandmother began searching in panic, looking for their baby, who had also been in the house.

 

 

 

It took only took 20 minutes for the tornado to carve its path through the city.  Accounts describe the funnel as being up to 500 feet wide, splitting into two funnels, and then rejoining back together.  Those in the midst of the cyclone found it difficult to later describe the terror “it sounded like 40 million shrieking devils” and  “it was darker than the ace of spades” were some of their quotes. There was a path of destruction approximately one kilometer wide.  Many buildings were instantly destroyed.

 

The Aftermath

Immediately after the tornado came a torrential downpour of rain mixed with hail.

Alex Hunter

 

Author’s note: Franticly searching in the rain, my great grandparents at last spotted the lifeless body of their baby covered in mud in a ditch. “She’s dead,” my great-grandfather flatly stated. Unwilling to accept this answer, my great-grandmother gently pulled out her child and began cleaning the mud out of the baby’s mouth. She began to breathe! After further cleaning and assessment, their daughter seemed completely unharmed.

 

Meanwhile, further in the city, chaos ensued.  Some were screaming, and others were trying to rescue people from the wreckage.  There was a steady stream of all available vehicles taking wounded and injured to the hospital.  28 lives were lost, and more than 2500 people were left homeless, making this the most devastating tornado in Canadian history.

 

 

A Titanic Fate

Titanic Frank and Bertha Blenkhorn were married in England and had booked their wedding voyage on board the Titanic. But their wedding and after party went on so long, they missed its sailing on the evening of 12 April. As we know, the Titanic would sink off the east coast of Canada on April 15th 1912. The Blenkhorns took a later boat, and had now settled in Regina.  Although they had escaped the fate of the Titanic just 2 months earlier, the couple unfortunately did not evade the Regina Cyclone.  As they were walking, their bodies were picked up and thrown hundreds of feet.  They did not survive.

 

Frankenstein and the Twister

FrankensteinBelieve it or not, Frankenstein was also caught in this twister.  William Henry Pratt was an actor with The Jeanne Russell Players, a traveling theatre group. The company had gone broke the day before and left him penniless and stranded in Regina.  The next day, the tornado struck. William survived, and in fact spent several days moving debris.  He eventually changed his name to Boris Karloff and went on to play Frankenstein in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939).  Karloff was plagued throughout his life by chronic back pain, which he attributed to his clean-up work in Regina.

 

The Following Days

The Mayor of Regina cancelled the Dominion Day (now Canada Day) celebrations.  This has been the only time in Regina’s history that it has been cancelled.  All stores and bars were ordered closed while the community assisted with the clean-up.

The tornado had sucked out all the examination papers for all grade school students from the Regina School Board offices.  For the following school year, students had to be passed or failed to the next grade based only on the recollection of their teachers.

 

A Personal Perspective Grandmother

Family

The baby who was rescued from the ditch was my grandmother.  She was the firstborn of the seven children my great grandparents had. I would not be here today if she had not survived.  My Grandmother married in the 1930’s, and became a school teacher of a one room school house.  She became an avid gardener and artist.

Every emergency situation is personal to someone, and it is easy to distance yourself from if it doesn’t affect you.  But sometimes we need reminders that preparation and community support are important parts of the fabric of our society.

Ontario Forest Fire

Ontario Forest Fires

Introduction:

Ontario Forest Fire Forest fires are a natural phenomenon that plays a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem health and diversity. However, when these fires occur at an alarming frequency and intensity, they pose a significant threat to Ontario’s rich and diverse forested areas. In this blog, we will explore the factors contributing to forest fires in Ontario, their impact on ecosystems, and the management and prevention strategies in place to mitigate these risks.

Ontario boasts extensive forested regions, covering approximately two-thirds of its land area. These forests are not only a source of breathtaking natural beauty but also provide numerous ecological benefits. They serve as carbon sinks, purify air and water, and offer habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species.

In the summer of 2022, Ontario witnessed one of its most devastating forest fires in recent history. Sparked by a lightning strike, the fire quickly spread across vast expanses of dry vegetation in the northern region. Fanned by strong winds, the flames grew uncontrollable, engulfing acres of pristine forest and threatening nearby communities. Firefighters from across the province, along with aerial support, battled relentlessly for weeks to contain the inferno. Despite their efforts, the fire caused significant destruction, destroying wildlife habitats and leaving a trail of charred landscapes. The incident served as a sobering reminder of the increasing threat of forest fires in Ontario’s changing climate.

Current information about Canadian Forest Fires can be found at Canadian Wildfire Information website.

 

Factors contributing to forest fires in Ontario:

  1. Climate conditions and weather patterns: Ontario’s climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and occasional droughts, creating ideal conditions for the ignition and spread of forest fires. Lightning strikes, in combination with dry vegetation, increase the likelihood of fire outbreaks.
  2. Human activities and their impact on fire risk: Human activities such as campfires, discarded cigarettes, and arson contribute significantly to the occurrence of forest fires in Ontario. Additionally, industrial activities like logging and mining can disturb the natural fire regime, leading to increased fire vulnerability.

 

Impact of forest fires on Ontario’s ecosystems:

Ontario Forest Fire Forest fires can have both immediate and long-term impacts on ecosystems in Ontario.

  1. Destruction of flora and fauna: Intense fires can decimate vast stretches of forests, leading to the loss of plant species and disruption of wildlife habitats. Some plants and animals are adapted to fire and may even require it for their life cycles. However, frequent and intense fires can threaten their survival.
  2. Disruption of natural habitats and ecosystems: Forest fires alter the structure and composition of ecosystems, leading to changes in biodiversity patterns. The loss of certain plant species can affect the food chain, impacting both herbivores and carnivores. Additionally, the loss of tree cover can result in soil erosion and degradation, further compromising ecosystem health.

 

 

Management and prevention strategies:

Recognizing the importance of mitigating forest fire risks, Ontario has implemented various management and prevention strategies:

  1. Government initiatives and policies: The government of Ontario has established forest fire management agencies that monitor fire risks and implement strategies to prevent and manage forest fires. These agencies conduct controlled burns, promote public awareness, and invest in fire suppression resources.
  2. Collaborative efforts with local communities and organizations: Engaging local communities and organizations is vital in preventing and managing forest fires. Educational programs, community-based fire prevention initiatives, and partnerships with Indigenous communities help foster a shared responsibility towards fire prevention and conservation.

Conclusion:

Ontario Forest Fire Ontario’s forest fires are a natural occurrence that, when managed properly, can contribute to the health and diversity of ecosystems. However, the increasing frequency and intensity of these fires pose a significant threat to Ontario’s forests and wildlife. It is crucial to understand the factors contributing to these fires and implement effective management and prevention strategies. By raising awareness, engaging local communities, and investing in conservation efforts, we can strive towards a sustainable future where forest fires are managed responsibly and ecosystems thrive. Together, we can protect Ontario’s precious forests for generations to come.

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BC Forest Fire

BC Forest Fires: Causes, Impacts, and Management Strategies

BC Forest

British Columbia (BC), Canada, with its vast forested landscapes and dry climate, is no stranger to the fury of forest fires. These natural disasters, fueled by both natural and human causes, have far-reaching consequences for the environment, economy, and communities. In this blog, we delve into the causes of BC forest fires, their impact on various aspects of life, ongoing management strategies, the challenges faced, and the future outlook for mitigating these devastating blazes.

Causes of BC Forest Fires:

There are 2 main causes of forest fire in BC:

  • Natural Causes:  lightning strikes during thunderstorms act as a primary trigger for wildfires in remote regions of BC.
  • Human Activities: Campfires, equipment use, and unfortunate incidents of arson contribute to the occurrence of forest fires in BC.

While natural causes are mainly out of our control, efforts to limit forest fires caused by human activity is something we can all be mindful of.

Impacts of BC Forest Fires

The impacts of BC forest fires are multi-faceted and wide-ranging. Environmentally, these fires result in the loss of valuable wildlife habitats and ecosystems, leading to a significant decline in biodiversity. The destruction of timber resources affects the forestry industry, leading to economic repercussions. Moreover, the smoke and airborne particles released during fires contribute to air pollution, posing health risks for residents. In extreme cases, communities may face evacuation orders, further disrupting lives and social dynamics.

Challenges in Managing BC Forest Fires

BC Forest Fire

Managing forest fires comes with its share of challenges. The sheer size and remote location of affected areas make accessibility and rapid response difficult. Changing climate patterns, including warmer and drier conditions, have increased the frequency and severity of forest fires, testing the limits of existing firefighting resources. Limited funding for firefighting efforts further compounds the challenges, necessitating innovative approaches and collaborations.

 

BC has developed comprehensive strategies to combat forest fires. Prevention measures, such as fire regulations and public education campaigns, play a crucial role in raising awareness about fire safety and responsible behavior in fire-prone areas. Advanced detection and monitoring systems, including aerial surveys and remote sensing technologies, enable authorities to identify fire outbreaks swiftly. Fire suppression strategies involve the coordinated efforts of ground crews and aerial firefighting teams to combat and extinguish wildfires.

 

 

 Mitigation and Future Outlook for BC Forest Fires BC Forest Fire

To mitigate BC forest fires effectively, ongoing research and technology advancements are crucial. Scientists and fire management experts are continuously developing improved techniques, equipment, and predictive models to enhance fire suppression and prevention strategies. Collaboration with Indigenous communities, who possess traditional ecological knowledge, and local stakeholders is gaining recognition as a valuable asset in mitigating forest fires. Embracing adaptive strategies that account for climate change impacts and developing resilient communities are essential steps toward a safer future.

Looking ahead, the future of BC forest fire management demands increased preparedness and adaptation. As climate change continues to reshape the world, the frequency and intensity of forest fires are projected to rise. Investing in resources, training, and public awareness will be pivotal in minimizing the impact of forest fires on both the environment and human lives. By working collectively and harnessing technological advancements, we can strive to preserve the pristine beauty of BC’s forests and protect the communities that depend on them.

Conclusion

Forest fires are a constant threat to the province’s environment, economy, and society. Understanding their causes, impacts, and effective management strategies is vital to combat these devastating blazes. While challenges persist, ongoing research, collaboration, and the adoption of adaptive strategies offer hope for a future where the impact of forest fires can be mitigated. By working together and prioritizing the preservation of our natural heritage, we can protect BC’s forests for generations to come.

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Martin Mars_Water_Bomber

The Martin Mars Water Bomber: A Legacy in Aerial Firefighting

Martin Mars water bomber

 

The Martin Mars water bomber, a legendary aircraft with a rich history, has made an indelible mark on aerial firefighting. In this blog, we delve into the unique features of this impressive aircraft, its operational history, the challenges it faces, and its legacy in firefighting. Join us as we explore the captivating story of the Martin Mars and its contributions to battling wildfires from the skies.

 

 

 

 

 

Design and Specifications

 

Martin Mars water bomber

The Martin Mars water bomber is an enormous seaplane originally designed as a military transport aircraft during World War II. It boasts a majestic presence, with a wingspan of 61 meters and a length of 36 meters. Equipped with four radial piston engines, each generating over 2,200 horsepower, the airplane possesses remarkable power and maneuverability.

The aircraft’s unique feature lies in its ability to scoop water from bodies of water while in flight, thanks to its retractable reinforced hull. With a payload capacity of up to 27,000 liters of water or fire retardant, it can deliver a substantial amount of extinguishing power. The aircraft’s large size and ability to scoop water from bodies of water make it an ideal asset in firefighting operations.

 

 

 

 

Operational History of the Martin Mars Mars_Water_Bomber

Initially serving as a military transport plane, the Martin Mars transitioned to its water bombing role in the late 1950s. Its exceptional performance in delivering massive quantities of water to combat wildfires quickly gained attention. The aircraft’s effectiveness in suppressing fires led to its deployment in various regions, including British Columbia, California, and Australia.

One notable news story dates back to 2015 when the Martin Mars water bomber was called into action to combat the devastating wildfires in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. As the fires raged and threatened homes and communities, the Martin Mars swooped in, scooping water from nearby lakes and dropping it with precision onto the flames. Its capacity to drop thousands of liters of water in a single pass proved crucial in saving homes and containing the fire’s spread. The news coverage of the Martin Mars in action showcased its immense capabilities and the awe-inspiring sight of the colossal aircraft fighting fires from above.

Sproat Lake, nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, holds a special place in the history of the Martin Mars water bomber. For many years, the lake has served as the home base for two of these magnificent aircraft. Situated near the town of Port Alberni, Sproat Lake has witnessed the awe-inspiring sight of the Martin Mars gliding gracefully across its serene waters, preparing to scoop up thousands of liters of water to combat nearby wildfires. The lake’s proximity to the forested regions of Vancouver Island made it an ideal location for the plane to swiftly respond to fire emergencies, showcasing its immense capabilities and saving countless lives and properties. Sproat Lake stands as a testament to the legacy of the Martin Mars, forever linked to the heroic firefighting efforts that took place in its tranquil waters.

Challenges and Limitations of the Martin Mars

Despite its impressive track record, the Martin Mars faces several challenges. The aircraft is a vintage machine, and maintenance and operational costs can be substantial. As there are only a few remaining Martin Mars aircraft, their limited availability poses a challenge in terms of deploying them to multiple fire zones simultaneously. Additionally, the aircraft’s size restricts its operational range, as it requires large bodies of water for scooping operations.

Legacy and Future Outlook of the Martin Mars

The Martin Mars water bomber leaves behind a remarkable legacy in aerial firefighting. Its contributions to suppressing wildfires and protecting communities have been invaluable. However, as technology advances and new firefighting techniques emerge, the Martin Mars faces the possibility of retirement. The evolution of aerial firefighting strategies, including the use of smaller and more agile aircraft, presents opportunities for more efficient and targeted fire suppression efforts.

While the future of this aircraft may be uncertain, efforts are underway to preserve and maintain these iconic aircraft. Their historical significance and the nostalgia associated with their unmistakable presence in the skies have sparked interest in their preservation as part of aviation heritage.

Looking ahead, the aerial firefighting industry continues to evolve, incorporating cutting-edge technology and innovations. Drones, advanced aerial mapping systems, and improved fire retardants are among the emerging technologies reshaping the field. These advancements offer promising alternatives to complement or potentially replace the Martin Mars, ensuring that firefighting efforts remain efficient and effective.

Conclusion

The Martin Mars water bomber has solidified its place in the annals of aerial firefighting. Its awe-inspiring size, incredible payload capacity, and ability to deliver massive amounts of water to combat wildfires have left an indelible mark. While challenges and limitations exist, the legacy of the Martin Mars lives on, reminding us of the invaluable role it played in protecting communities and landscapes.

 

Unfortunately forest fires are becoming more and more prevalent. For some to better equipped for almost any emergency situation, click this link to implement a Family Emergency Drill,