Prioritizing Emergency Management

On the opening day of convention, representatives of the BC Wildfire Service, Emergency Management BC, and George Abbott, co-chair of the BC Flood and Wildfire Review presented their ideas and initiatives on improving community resiliency through emergency preparedness programs.

In response to the rising number of catastrophic flood and wildfire events occurring in BC annually, the provincial government is prioritizing and improving emergency management practices and increasing financial support to help local governments mitigate, respond to, prepare for, and recover from natural disasters.  Delegates learned how to deal with this “new normal” through presentations from representatives of the BC Wildfire Service, Emergency Management BC, and Mr. Abbott.

Presenters informed delegates of new initiatives that will strengthen community resiliency in regards to natural disasters.  These initiatives include:

  • updating and modernizing BC’s Emergency Program Act;
  • a major technological overhaul of the Provinces 911 system that will allow universal access to 911 services;
  • increased funding and expanded eligibility criteria for the Community Resiliency Initiative Program and the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund;
  • improvements to wildfire response and attack that include new airplanes and higher level of training for fire fighters and;
  • the creation of the Prescribed Fire Working Group to create a framework that will allow non-provincial entities to conduct prescribed burns in local areas.

Mr. Abbott closed the session with an overview of the findings and lessons learned from the Abbot-Chapman Report. Abbott stressed the importance of creating regional and formal partnerships between the Province, local authorities, First Nations, industry and homeowners and encouraged local government officials to develop form and informal emergency preparedness agreements.

Delegates can learn more about these initiatives by attending the Thursday morning clinic, Modernizing BC’s Emergency Program Act.

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