Emergency Management BC (EMBC) protects and improves public safety in B.C. by working with local authorities to provide advisories of active emergencies, support disaster readiness, response and recovery, provide fire safety and fire prevention information through the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and death investigation and public safety information through the BC Coroners Service.
BC Coroners Service
- The Coroners Service investigated 8,020 sudden, unexpected and unnatural deaths in 2012.
- Twenty public inquests were conducted by the Coroners Service including the inquests into the deaths of three workers at a Lower Mainland mushroom farm, several police-involved deaths, the death of a search and rescue technician, and two deaths in correctional facilities.
- Following the devastating landslide at Johnson's Landing in July 2012, the Coroners Service took the lead in recovering the remains of the missing. Assisted by local search and rescue teams, Vancouver's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue unit and the province's Wildfire Management Branch, the Coroners Service led a successful recovery effort that located the remains of the deceased safely with no additional loss of life or injury to those assisting in this challenging task.
- The Coroners Service Identification and Disaster Response Unit continued to expand its sophisticated missing persons/found human remains database, applying innovative geospatial, DNA, dental and other comparative analyses to support the identification of found human remains. The positive identification of found remains is critical for legal, criminal and estate purposes.
- The Report of the Death Review Panel into four fatal commercial seaplane accidents was released by the Chief Coroner. The four incidents, which resulted in 23 deaths, were reviewed by a panel of experts that included pilots, members of the commercial floatplane community and safety professionals. The panel's 19 recommendations were forwarded to seven recipients, including Transport Canada and the Floatplane Operators Association.
- The Coroners Service Research Unit issued a number of reports, including reports into deaths due to Intimate Partner Violence, Pedestrian Deaths and Ecstasy-Related Deaths.
- The Office of the Fire Commissioner and WorkSafe BC have initiated a new Fire Inspection and Prevention Initiative that helps ensure owners and employers are compliant with the BC Fire Code, their fire prevention and inspection responsibilities and are held accountable for the safety of their workers.
- This initiative will have WorkSafe inspectors already on-site as part of routine workplace inspections ask for fire code compliance documentation.
Disaster Financial Assistance:
- The purpose of DFA is to provide assistance to individuals for their principal residence and to help farmers and small business owners when their livelihood is at risk.
- Since 2007, government has paid over $14 million in Disaster Financial Assistance to help 1,800 individuals recover from uninsurable disaster events in B.C.
- B.C. has also paid over $19 million to help local governments recover from disasters.
- The Ministry of Justice (EMBC), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development and the Canadian Red Cross signed an agreement to formalize a collaborative emergency response framework and allow for quicker, more efficient deployment of emergency management equipment and personnel.
- Through this agreement - one of the first of its kind in Canada - the Province and the Canadian Red Cross are working together to provide collaborative planning, training and joint exercises that will enhance mutual emergency and disaster response capacity.
- In addition, government and the Red Cross are working to develop and implement a plan and framework to help ensure the continued timely and effective deployment of Emergency Response Units (ERUs) as temporary resources to assist British Columbia in times of a major or catastrophic disaster.
- The 2012 Spring Freshet produced the highest river water levels in B.C. since 1972.
- EMBC supported communities and individuals in their response to potential and actual flooding by deploying over 1.3 million sandbags and more than six kilometres of gabion baskets throughout every region in the province.
- A total of 70 communities, including 12 First Nations and 14 Regional Districts were found eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance.
- Twenty communities across the province received commitments for funding for permanent flood protection projects to better help protect communities from flood events in the future.
- The EMBC social media unit was initiated in January 2012 and provides 24/7 emergency alerts and public education on emergency preparedness.
- In the last year, @EmergencyInfoBC has established the largest online following in all of government and the most online communication tools including Pinterest, YouTube channels, and a twitter audience of almost 23,000.
- Quickly after the October 27, 2012 earthquake, EMBC implemented several new mechanisms to help expedite notification to affected communities.
- These improvements help us streamline communication and then provided an opportunity to review and update policies, procedures and alerting processes that were proven more effective and efficient in the January earthquake.
- They include:
- EMBC forwarding a West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre alert immediately to a priority emergency e-mail distribution list that includes all local authorities and first responders that receive provincial emergency notification system (PENS) updates.
- EMBC posting information on its Twitter account, @EmergencyInfoBC, blog and other social media outlets to continue to update British Columbians throughout a potential disaster.
- A mobile-friendly version of the EMBC blog, available at http://www.EmergencyInfoBC.gov.bc.ca
- If you have an RSS app on your smartphone, you have the ability to sign up for blog notifications at http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/atom.xml
- Approved partner Twitter accounts that @EmergencyInfoBC can retweet to followers while B.C.-specific information is being confirmed
- Development underway of an interactive map of tsunami warning zones, including a community finder, so the public can determine whether they are at risk should there be a warning
- Template blog posts to increase the speed of information posted to the EMBC blog
- Digital recordings that will be made available of the latest tsunami warning information on EMBC's SoundCloud site: http://soundcloud.com/bcgov/sets/emergencyinfobc
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement