VICTORIA - This weekend's windstorm that ripped through the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island knocking over trees, power lines and leaving people in the dark for a number of days is a reminder for all British Columbians to make sure they and their families are prepared for any emergency. "The recent wind storm serves as a reminder to British Columbians that emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that starts in each of our homes," said Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto. "We all need to have supplies on hand, like food and water, first aid kits and flashlights, so that our homes are ready for any potential emergency, large or small." Yamamoto joined BC Hydro officials yesterday in a tour of impacted areas and the utility company's Emergency Operations Centre, commending work crews on their tireless, around-the clock effort to restore power to affected communities. The minister committed to exploring with partners, including local authorities and BC Hydro, lessons learned to help better prepare and respond to emergencies. Emergency officials are using the recent windstorm to remind residents to prepare for more severe weather incidents, as well as make it a catalyst for preparing for catastrophic impacts should a large earthquake strike the coast. All British Columbians should have an emergency plan that outlines evacuation and family reunification measures, and an emergency kit to help sustain family and pets for a minimum of 72 hours.