News from Kamloops

March 6, 2017

Agencies practice responding to disasters and emergencies

Kamloops, BC – Emergency Management BC, the City of Kamloops, and the Canadian Red Cross have just wrapped up a weekend of training and working through exercises together to increase emergency preparedness in the region.

The City, Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Services, the Disaster Psychosocial Program, St. John Ambulance, the City's Emergency Support Services, and the Canadian Red Cross participated in a three-day workshop (March 3-5) that focused on providing shelter for evacuees in an emergency or disaster.

On Saturday, a mock wildfire scenario threatened nearby homes. The City set up a reception centre at McArthur Island and, with the Red Cross, also set up a shelter to support the evacuees.

In addition to the mock wildfire, the three-day training:

  • brought emergency responders together to share knowledge and best practices
  • helped partner agencies improve how they work together to help evacuees in an emergency
  • increased the ability of partner agencies in Kamloops to respond to emergencies and disasters

BC's Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto, supports this initiative. She states that:

Emergencies and disasters can strike unexpectedly. By exercising and planning, and taking steps toward preparedness overall, we can all be better equipped to support ourselves, our families and our communities. Last June, the Province invested $1.2 million in an earthquake exercise to test elements of our Immediate Response Plan. We learned important lessons that will help our province to better withstand a catastrophic earthquake and strengthened relationships through collaboration. We encourage everyone to have a plan and build a kit. Resources and guides for all British Columbians are available through our PreparedBC website.

Assistant Chief - Kamloops Fire Rescue, Dan Sutherland, is pleased to see the City taking a proactive approach to emergency preparedness.

"An opportunity like this allows us to build capacity as a community. We are always working at being as prepared as possible." says Sutherland. "While there will always be support from local government and agencies in an emergency situation, residents have an important role to play in making their own preparations in the event of an emergency."

Sutherland is confident the weekend of training will enhance the City's capacity to assist evacuees in times of emergency.

"Coordinating with partners like the City of Kamloops, even when we're not in an active response, is a key part of preparedness," says Kayla Pepper, Canadian Red Cross Community Planning and Response Coordinator. "When volunteers and staff from different agencies experience the challenges of a mock disaster together, we can more effectively help people when they need us most."

In total, Emergency Management BC provided $43,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for training exercises in Kamloops, Abbotsford, and Campbell River. The City of Kamloops also contributed $5,000 for this most recent event.

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Media Contact:
Dan Sutherland, Asst. Chief Support Services, Emergency Coordinator
Kamloops Fire and Rescue

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