The Qualicum Beach Fire Hall is now easing into operation amid much talk about emergency preparation

Money will help communities work together on emergency preparedness

New agreement puts some structure to what’s been happening for years

During fire prevention week and just in time for the Great B.C. ShakeOut drill Oct. 15, local governments are taking a regional approach to emergency planning.

“What affects us is going to affect them and vice versa,” said Qualicum Beach Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer of the town’s work with Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN).

Before council agreed to a new Regional Emergency Resource Agreement with the neighbouring municipal governments at their Oct. 5 meeting, Luchtmeijer explained the importance of working together, whether that’s cooperation between countries, B.C. and Washington state, or towns: “we look at surrounding communities for help.”

The new agreement puts a more formal structure on ongoing work, with each of the three partners contributing $14,000 in the first year — increasing to $22,000 in the fifth and final year — to fund a volunteer coordinator and the already active, volunteer driven emergency social services and communications teams.

Oceanside Emergency Social Services will receive $4,500 a year, Oceanside Emergency Communications will receive $1,500, and $36,000 (increasing to $60,000 a year) will go to funding the coordinator.

The coordinator/administrator work will be done by Parksville’s emergency program coordinator (currently Aaron Dawson), providing funds and acting as the point of contact for the volunteer groups.

“Parties consider it to be of mutual benefit to provide financial and capital support and share these resources for response to emergency incidents within the jurisdictions…” says the agreement.

After many emergency preparation events Luchtmeijer said a key he’s learned is “if you’re going to make an emergency plan, make it understandable for everybody because in a crisis, people are confused, people need help and it has to be simple and concise.”

He said at one Union of B.C. Municipalities convention discussion for example, “the message was clear, don’t mess with big words, make it easy to understand.”

Emergency Management B.C. is working on a plan for a catastrophic earthquake which was supposed to be done for 2014, and is now scheduled for 2017, “so we’re hoping the catastrophic earthquake isn’t soon,” he said.

The province is also “working on a public awareness system,” since people mostly rely on the U.S. Geological Survey’s notifications despite there being local resources.

Emergency preparation has been a hot local topic recently between provincial Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4-10, the Oct. 15 ShakeOut, the RDN’s recent Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program exercises in Coombs, and the opening of Qualicum Beach’s new fire hall, with an open house Nov. 7.

Said Coun. Neil Horner, who attended the Coombs exercises: “The biggest takeaway I got from this is you guys can all forget about 72 hours — you’re going to have to wait to get help, because if it’s a big event it could be a lot longer than that. You should be able to look after yourself for a week or longer.”

For more on the ShakeOut visit www.shakeoutbc.ca, for more on emergency preparation in general check with your municipality, fire department or visit www.pep.bc.ca and watch the Qualicum Beach Fire Department’s Facebook page for details on the open house.

Just Posted

Deep Bay artist creates abstract sculptures using cement

Birgit Piskor’s artist journey has blossomed from gardener to sculpture

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Fill the fire engines in District 69 for 2018

Firefighters set to conduct annual food and toy drive

Grandmothers to Grandmothers host annual Christmas Extravaganza

Crafts, baked goods, knitting and many more homemade treasures available at fundraiser

Gridiron Whalers go marching past Saints

Ballenas defence holds off surging Langley to secure spot in playoff quarterfinals

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

B.C. to invest $492 million in affordable homes

72 new projects are part of a 10-year, $1.9-billion strategy

Around the BCHL: Surrey Eagles sliding and Cassidy Bowes flows

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Pit bull cross, chihuahua owners must split costs for dogfight damage, judge rules

Eac side responsible for $577.43 towards injuries in Comox Valley incident

3 random words mark every spot on earth

Innovative mapping system assigns three word combinations to 57 trillion 3 metre squares

Most fatal overdose victims did not have recent police contact: Stats Canada

11 per cent of those who fatally overdosed in B.C. had four or more contacts with the police

Tragic conclusion to search for overdue hiker west of Campbell River

An overdue hiker was found deceased on the shore of Lower Campbell… Continue reading

Who was Chris Bloomfield, the Mill Bay man shot by police?

A troubled man with a voracious appetite for illicit drugs and a non-conventional lifestyle

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Most Read