Whether it was learning how to handle a fire extinguisher, seeing the view from inside a police cruiser or how to survive after a major disaster, there was a lot to learn at the third annual Oceanside Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, May 27.
There was a strong turnout by about mid-day at the event in Parksville, said Rob Daman, emergency co-ordinator for the Town of Qualicum Beach.
The event, which took place for the first time at the Parksville Curling Club building, is put on by Emergency Management Oceanside, which includes the town, the City of Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Daman said the event has grown every year, with more and more volunteer organizations and vendors taking part alongside the RCMP, various fire departments, the coast guard and others.
This year featured an expansion in the number of workshops offered, which was in response to feedback from last year, said Daman.
Included this year were workshops on outdoor safety for recreational walkers, the importance of insurance in emergency preparedness, preparing for the hours immediately after a major disaster and more.
An unexpected benefit from the expo has been the connections made between agencies, volunteers organizations and other groups, said Daman.
Lots of time can be lost figuring out who is who at the start of a major disaster, like the Fort McMurray fire, he said. Events like this help to get people acquainted with each other before something bad happens.
He said there were close to 30 organizations represented at the expo.