Update from Emergency Management BC

This morning, Pat Quealey, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management BC, told delegates that while “all emergencies are local” the province is continuing to build their emergency response capabilities.

With a focus on unity of effort and purpose, Mr. Quealey walked delegates through the activities of Emergency Management BC and their focus on integrated response. This included recent staffing additions and the status of their 3-year planning efforts to develop a decision-making framework for immediate response, sustained response and recovery planning.

To provide context, Mr. Quealey reviewed scenario modeling for Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District estimating numbers of fatalities and injured or displaced citizens. The message was clear: in the case of a catastrophic earthquake, communications will be disrupted, critical infrastructure will be severely impacted, and the supply of food, water and aid may be limited for months.

Emergency Management BC continues “to prepare for the worst” and will be testing their planning efforts to date through a coastal response exercise in Port Alberni in June 2016. The exercise is being coordinated with local governments, First Nations and other agencies to test and inform the decision-based plans that are in place.

Mr. Quealey finished his presentation with a focus on notification, alerting and public education and spoke to EMBC plans to increase their ability to connect directly to citizens in the case of a tsunami alert and other emergency situations. Mr. Quealey identified that the Province intends to develop a Local Government Engagement Strategy, as well as enhanced support for First Nation communities.

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