Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto, toured “ground zero” in Port Alberni today to showcase Exercise Coastal Response, the Government of B.C.’s $1.2-million full-scale earthquake and tsunami response exercise which tests the BC Earthquake Immediate Response Plan and promotes interagency co-operation among both internal and external agencies that support emergency response.
The venues that Yamamoto toured with media include:
- The Salvation Army's mobile kitchens
- The Salvation Army in B.C. has a fleet of 14 mobile kitchens capable of feeding thousands of people in an actual disaster.
- Trained crews operate these kitchens led by qualified Incident Command Teams of nationally trained Salvation Army staff and volunteers. Capable personnel can also be called in from all across North America and internationally in a catastrophic event.
- Emergency Social Services Reception Centre
- People who are forced to evacuate their homes in an emergency may be directed to a reception centre.
- A reception centre is a safe place where people can go to receive information about the emergency, help in meeting their basic needs and planning their recovery from the disaster, and other primary and specialized services.
- Emergency Social Services Group Lodging
- People forced from their homes in an emergency may be directed to group-lodging facilities when commercial lodging is either not appropriate or unavailable.
- Group lodging is a safe place where people can go to sleep and eat, receive specialized care – including multicultural services and transportation – and obtain health services such as first aid and emotional support.
- In this scenario, the Canadian Red Cross is managing this facility.
- Medical Mobile Units
- British Columbia’s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) is a high-tech hospital on wheels.
- The MMU is a publicly funded, unique resource to Western Canada, offering a variety of health emergency response, business continuity, clinical education, and mobile health consultation services throughout the province.
- BC Coroners Service Mass Morgue
- In British Columbia, the Coroners Act requires that the coroner confirm the identity of the deceased and how, when, where and by what means death occurred for all traumatic and sudden and unexpected deaths. This is the same in a mass disaster.
- Further roles of the BC Coroners Service are outlined in the Province of British Columbia BC Earthquake Immediate Response Plan.
- Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) demonstration
- Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) provides critical resources and a specially trained taskforce of up to 120 personnel with medical, fire suppression, emergency response, search and rescue, and engineering backgrounds.
- The teams are multi-disciplined, totally self-sufficient and able to deploy with trained dogs, electronic search equipment and heavy construction equipment to remove debris and help extract people trapped in major structural collapses like one might expect from a catastrophic earthquake.
Exercise Coastal Response includes the physical deployment of the Provincial Coordination Team, as well as the City of Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team and B.C.’s Mobile Medical Unit. Participants in table-top exercises and co-ordinated physical drills include representatives from area First Nations and the region of Port Alberni, cross-ministry representation from the Province, and participants from Public Safety Canada and the Department of National Defence.
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 –
“In concert with our own crisis communications, collaboration, partnership and open and honest communication between our government and the media is critical in a catastrophic disaster. This earthquake exercise allows members of the media to see what ‘The Big One’ might be like on the front lines. Should a major earthquake strike B.C., this experience will give journalists a greater ability to more accurately describe the situation to the general public, which could ultimately save lives.”
Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan –
“Exercise Coastal Response has been a great opportunity to collaborate and share critical knowledge regarding our response to a major disaster. There is no question that there is more work to do but through partnerships such as this, we’re better prepared for the emergencies of tomorrow.”
Exercise Coastal Response
- Exercise Coastal Response is based on a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurring off the shore of Southwestern B.C. as a result of a rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The earthquake scenario will generate a tsunami impacting the west coast of Vancouver Island minutes after the initial shock.
- The exercise brings together some key stakeholder groups such as different levels of government, various jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S., and a number of provincial ministries, First Nations, Crown corporations, non-government organizations and first responders.
- The exercise is a mix of real-time activities and simulated situations involving functions such as emergency operations, logistics, medical care, mass care, public information and operational communications.
Exercise Pacific Quake
- Exercise Pacific Quake is a Canadian federal government earthquake exercise. Federal exercise play will include the local federal co-ordination departments who have a presence in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, such as Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and will extend to the Government Operations Centre in Ottawa.
Exercise Staunch Maple
- The Joint Task Force Pacific (JTFP), the lead Canadian military formation in B.C., have a range of activities planned, some of which are linked to Exercise Coastal Response activities located along the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Exercise Cascadia Rising
- Led by Northwest United States FEMA Region 10, this exercise includes most municipalities and counties in the Western half of Washington and Oregon, as well as parts of Idaho.
Exercise Coastal Response: http://ow.ly/7e6o300baWH
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