Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto today met with national and international delegates in the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre (PECC) at Emergency Management BC’s headquarters in Victoria to showcase Exercise Coastal Response.
Exercise Coastal Response is an earthquake and tsunami response exercise to test British Columbia’s Earthquake Immediate Response Plan and promote interagency co-operation among both internal and external agencies that support emergency response and recovery.
Yamamoto and invited guests met with Claude Denver, lead evaluator of Exercise Coastal Response. Denver is the lead response manager from the State Emergency Operations Centre, Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
In his role within the exercise, Denver brings a unique and external lens to the processes and interaction of exercise participants. His role is to look for opportunities to validate and strengthen the processes, evaluate performance of critical tasks, as well as the effectiveness of interagency co-operation and co-ordination.
The ability to evaluate the full complement of the exercise, including how agencies approach the scenario and the tasks that would be demanded of them in a real earthquake, provides invaluable perspective and learning opportunities for the continued development of the Province’s emergency preparedness and emergency management functions, as well as refinements to the BC Earthquake Immediate Response Plan.
International delegates are attending the PECC portion of the Province’s first full-scale earthquake and tsunami response exercise from the United States, Australia, France and Japan. These representatives include:
- Michael Bradecamp, political/economics chief to the U.S. Consulate General
- Danielle Wood, management officer to the U.S. Consulate General
- Raymond Miller, port director to U.S. Customs and Border Operations
- Kevin Lamb, honorary consul and Austrade manager to the Australian Consulate
- Louise Murray, second secretary and consul to the Australian Consulate
- Olivier Dellapina, consular officer – Consulate General of France in Vancouver
- Ishikura Hiroshi, security officer to the Consulate General of Japan
The PECC facilitates and co-ordinates the provincial government’s overall priorities and objectives, including response and recovery efforts in a significant emergency management event. The PECC also:
- Manages the provincial government response and provides policy direction for regional emergency operations.
- Supports Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC) operations by managing the assignment of provincial support to the regional levels.
- Ensures adequate provincewide mobilization and allocation of critical assets.
- Implements the BC Emergency Public Information Plan.
- Facilitates the acquisition of federal disaster support through Public Safety Canada.
During Exercise Coastal Response, the PECC is supporting the local Emergency Operations Centre located in Port Alberni by providing real-time provincial-level response efforts due to the impacts of a catastrophic event. Emergency response and recovery during the exercise has brought together stakeholders from all levels of government, as well as Emergency Management BC staff, First Nations, Crown corporations, crucial infrastructure owners and non-government organizations involved in provincial-level response to model how they would collaboratively work to respond to the impacts of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami along coastal British Columbia.
During the same timeframe, neighbouring states and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 10 are conducting an exercise called Cascadia Rising 2016. As well, Canadian federal departments involved in earthquake response will be conducting Exercise Pacific Quake and Exercise Staunch Maple.
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto –
“The effective co-ordination and co-operation of emergency responders and agencies is of critical importance during a real emergency. We are pleased to open our doors to international partners and share outcomes so that we can better address areas that require attention and provide British Columbians the best emergency preparedness plan possible.”
Lead evaluator for Exercise Coastal Response Claude Denver –
“It’s a welcomed opportunity to offer my insight and support from the State of Alaska to EMBC’s Exercise Coastal Response. Both Alaska and B.C. share common naturally occurring events such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis that produce emergencies or disasters that could spill across our borders, and we need to work together to improve our capabilities to ensure the safety and protection of our residents. There is certainly the need for integrated response and co-ordination, which is something that B.C. has helped foster with its neighbours to the south, as well as Alaska. It’s those kinds of pre-established partnerships and mutual aid agreements, response and recovery plans, and cross-border exercising of those plans, which ensure all available help is ready to pitch in with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to be effective. It has been a rewarding experience to participate and provide a lens of learning to B.C., as well as bring some of that reciprocal learning home with me.”
Exercise Coastal Response: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/exercise-coastal-response-2016
BC Earthquake Immediate Response Plan: http://ow.ly/4nrclv
Basic emergency kit supplies: http://ow.ly/4nrcp3
Household preparedness and neighbourhood preparedness guides: http://ow.ly/4nrcso
Prepare Your Pets Guide: http://ow.ly/4nrcwG
Emergency Info BC, B.C.’s official channel for emergency alerts: http://ow.ly/WCDbj
A backgrounder follows.