Community Emergency Preparedness & Response

In the immediate wake of this year’s unprecedented wildfires and flooding, Electoral Area directors were provided with a “nuts-and-bolts” review of the collaborative roles played by the Province, local government and the Red Cross in responding to and recovering from disaster.

Emergency Management BC (EMBC) Senior Regional Manager Ian Cunnings kicked off the session with a fast-paced review of the agency’s leading role and responsibility coordinating provincial disaster response.

EMBC is involved at every stage of the Emergency Management Cycle, from mitigation to preparedness, response and recovery. They also manage Disaster Financial Assistance, which is limited to uninsurable losses.

Cunnings reminded delegates that emergency response is a shared responsibility of senior levels of government, First Nations and local governments, NGOs, businesses and residents.

“There is no way one level of government could ever manage the scope of issues arising from floods, landslides, wildfires,” said Cunnings, thanking delegates for making a difference through the trials of this year.

Brian Reardon, Chief Administrative Officer of the Central Okanagan Regional District, recounted local government’s obligations under the Emergency Program Act to prepare for and respond to local disasters. Elected officials have an important role to play, including declaring or confirming a state of local emergency, maintaining emergency plans and coordinating emergency operating centres staffing and activities.

The Red Cross’ Kimberley Nemrava described the integrated role her organization plays as the BC government’s neutral humanitarian organization in disaster response and recovery. “What will your community do to prepare? What does your community need to feel strong and vital against the next disaster they will face?” she asked.

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