VICTORIA -- Emergency response agencies are reminding Vancouver Islanders to be prepared before disaster strikes as the country marks the annual Emergency Preparedness Week.

Windstorms, fires, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis are all potential hazards across much of the island.

Having sufficient supplies of food, water and a battery-operated radio at the ready are crucial in the event of an emergency according to Emergency Management BC, the province’s lead agency for coordinating disaster responses promoting preparedness.

Frank Macdonald, Saanich’s deputy fire chief, says residents may need to be self-sufficient to survive the earliest hours of an emergency if first responders are tied up with multiple calls.

“We can have a significant amount of backlog of incidents (and) we end up having to stack calls and we end up going from one incident to another,” Macdonald said on Monday.

“That’s where we are really looking to the public to ensure they are self-sufficient and that they already have a relationship up front with their neighbours and they are able to support each other,” he added.

Vancouver Island residents should visit their municipality’s website for specific emergency preparedness plans.

Emergency Preparedness Week runs until May 8.