9-1-1 will last through quake

Emergency response system called robust enough for the big one

If a major earthquake were to hit Vancouver Island, the emergency 9-1-1 system would likely continue to function, says Chris Vrabel, with the North Island 9-1-1 Corporation.

In a presentation at the April 10 Regional District of Nanaimo committee of the whole meeting, Vrabel, who works with Campbell River Fire and Rescue, said the system is robust.

“It’s something nobody wants to experience, but we have no choice but to plan for it. We finished a capital project in 2011 where we installed a large event-proof dispatch centre in Campbell River as a backup. We are also working on a redundancy plan with other agencies to take up dispatch services for a short time if we go offline. We are confident we have the resources to navigate through a big event.”

The comment came in response to a query from Qualicum Beach director Dave Willie.

“The big one might be around the corner,” Willie said. “How comfortable are you with your assets to survive a catastrophic incident such as an earthquake or tsunami?”

The question was a timely one, as just hours later Indonesia was shaken by an 8.6 magnitude earthquake, along with numerous aftershocks.

Vrabel conceded the system might not operate seamlessly during a major catastrophe however.

“We might have areas that would have outages, while the rest of the area would be OK,” he said. “We have redundant systems in each of our communities and we have long-term staff who are capable to make decisions on their own, which is probably the most important thing.”

 

The North Island 9-1-1 Corporation covers 56,000 square kilometres in six regional districts, including the School District 69 portion of the RDN.