Cities across the country are planning for the worst as part of Emergency Preparedness Week, which lasts until May 12. The initiative is designed to raise awareness of the importance of Canadians being ready for a range of emergencies. Vancouver is staging VanSlam, where 600 staff and volunteers are set to respond to a fictitious natural disaster.
The simulation involves recreation centre evacuations, building and infrastructure evaluations and search and rescue operations.
“Exercises such as this are a vital part of ensuring the city is ready to respond to major emergencies as they allow us to thoroughly assess the strength of our plans and identify areas where we need to focus on further development,” said Vancouver Fire Rescue chief Darrell Reid.
“Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. While VanSlam is a practice exercise, there is a one in four chance that a major earthquake will hit British Columbia in the next 50 years, and how prepared you are will make a significant difference to your chance of survival.”
Here’s how residents can do their part:
- • Attend a free neighbourhood workshop
- • Designate a meeting place for loved ones to gather if something happens
- • Have the proper food, water, clothing and prescription drugs on hand to survive for a prolonged period of time (at least three days)
- • Get to know neighbours and any skills they may have that might help
- • Read the Household Preparedness Guide
In addition, this weekend the city in partnership with urban planning studio Neighbourhood Lab are hosting two neighbourhood resilience walks to educate people about the potential impacts of an earthquake in specific areas. Burnaby is also hosting two workshops in June and July.
Think you know your stuff? Enter the Government of Canada’s Readiness Challenge for a chance to win a Canadian Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Kit.