Transportation and Infrastructure

Province invests over $80 million in emergency preparedness

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Transportation and Infrastructure

Province invests over $80 million in emergency preparedness

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Government Communications and Public Engagement Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 250 356-8241
(flickr.com)
Media Contacts
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 250 356-8241

Backgrounders

$32 million for local government emergency preparedness

As part of over $80 million announced today, the Province of British Columbia is providing the Union of BC Municipalities with $32 million in funding to establish a Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF) that will support disaster response and recovery through structural mitigation, investments in flood-risk and emergency evacuation route assessments, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) IT equipment and backup generators, and capital purchases, exercises and training for Emergency Social Services (ESS).

In order to reduce social and economic disruption and better protect families, property and the environment, $20 million is being provided to plan and implement structural mitigation projects in B.C. Portions of this funding will meet the demand of shovel-ready projects, such as floodways, dikes and pump stations. The Province is also providing $3 million of the CEPF for flood-risk assessments, floodplain mapping, and flood mitigation plans. This funding will help local governments identify locations and critical infrastructure at high levels of flood risk, determine how often flooding may occur, and identify strategies for mitigating flood impacts.

ESS teams, which provide residents up to 72 hours of lodging, clothing and food following an emergency, are essential to the well-being of British Columbians in times of need. The Province is also providing $4.2 million to bolster training and purchase equipment for these local public safety volunteers. While ESS teams in B.C. are equipped to respond to smaller events in their own communities, this funding support will help build local government capacity to respond to larger or catastrophic events.

Recent wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta. and Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains highlight the need to assess and protect communities with single evacuation routes, or evacuation routes which pose other hazards, such as susceptibilities to landslides or floods. The Province is contributing $1 million to evacuation route assessments for emergencies posed from major hazards such as fire, floods and HAZMAT incidents.

The Province is also allocating $3.8 million toward the purchase of EOC generators and training. As a result of Exercise Coastal Response, British Columbia’s first full-scale and provincially led earthquake exercise held in 2016, the need to aid local authorities in the purchase of EOC generators, and to improve training, EOC information technology infrastructure and operational functionality was identified. These upgrades will facilitate effective emergency response communications and integration with surrounding communities and regional partners, in order to enhance local authorities’ communications infrastructure, improve the ability to capture records of events and decrease the reliance on the availability of local electricity.

$10 million in support for public safety partners

As part of the more than $80 million announced today, the Province is investing approximately $10 million in public safety partners, with whom it collaborates, to improve the overall preparedness and resilience of British Columbians. This includes:

Fire Chiefs Association of BC –  $1.63 million

  • Of this funding, $1 million will support the development of a governance framework for road rescue services in B.C. At present, road rescue services in B.C. do not have a high-level governance framework to support training and equipment replacement. This funding will aid the FCABC in developing this framework and better liaise between Road Rescue teams, EMBC and other stakeholders. The FCABC will also identify, prioritize and allocate funds for training and the acquisition of rescue equipment. The remaining $630,000 will be directed toward fire prevention for at-risk homes.

Canada Task Force 1 (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue or HUSAR) – $1 million

  • This funding will replace aging equipment and enable team skills training and maintenance. Based in Vancouver, these first responders are trained to provide search-and-rescue services in large-scale, urban building collapses.

Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network – $800,000

  • This funding supports research, analysis and modelling to evaluate the potential response and resiliency of local communities impacted by natural hazards that affect marine transportation links and port infrastructure (e.g. major earthquakes). The results will help inform local authorities on the development of their emergency preparedness plans.

The Salvation Army of BC – $700,000

  • This funding will support the provision and retrofitting of Salvation Army mobile feeding vans, and the delivery of mass feeding training seminars and Emergency Social Services (ESS) training for volunteers and emergency program coordinators in local communities. This training will enrich the long-term emergency preparedness and resilience planning of local communities.

BC Search and Rescue Association – $500,000

  • $500,000 will go toward a pilot project for the use of Public Safety Broadband Network Deployable Systems, which are basically portable communications networks. These networks will aid emergency responders in locations where conventional communication infrastructure is damaged or non-existent.

Avalanche Canada – $500,000

  • Funding will support services Avalanche Canada provides including daily forecasts for much of B.C.’s mountainous backcountry, the development of avalanche safety education for recreational users, and the delivery of awareness seminars at schools throughout the province. Avalanches are the deadliest natural hazard in Canada and 80% of all fatalities occur in B.C. Avalanche Canada’s programs and services play a vital role in B.C.’s winter tourism.

Provincial Emergency Program Air (PEP Air) – $100,000

  • Currently, PEP Air relies on verbal position updates and manual maps to estimate aircraft positions and locations of interest when searching for overdue or downed aircraft, or in supporting ground search and rescue teams. This funding will enable PEP Air to purchase flight tracking and mission management tools and equipment to improve operational safety and effectiveness.

Canadian Red Cross – $100,000

  • The Canadian Red Cross will procure disaster relief supplies (cots, blankets, personal hygiene products, baby supplies, cleaning kits, etc.) and strategically pre-position them at Red Cross facilities throughout B.C. This will allow communities to access this vital equipment quickly after a disaster.
Over $3 million announced for seismic improvements

As part of over $80 million announced today, the Province is investing over $3 million in funding to support emergency management and preparedness projects will increase the overall resiliency of British Columbia.

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction – $1.9 million

  • This project will create seismic hazard maps, which detail the threats of earthquake shaking and potential for liquefaction and landslides in multiple Metro Vancouver municipalities. Emergency program coordinators and municipalities will be able to use the information generated by this project to inform emergency planning and land-use decisions, and to support the prioritization of mitigation efforts for buildings and other infrastructure.

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) – $500,000

  • This funding will help create a training program for APEGBC members to make it easier to access their professional assistance and, in turn, better protect the overall safety of British Columbians in the aftermath and recovery phase of a catastrophic seismic event. This $500,000 project will support the delivery of post-earthquake building assessment training for qualified professionals, such as inspectors, engineers, architects, and those identified as post-earthquake administrators. The goal of the project is to create a professional community with the specialized skills to provide post-earthquake structural assessments and aid in the immediate response and recovery efforts of all levels of government.

Strathcona Regional District – $500,000

  • This funding will provide seismic upgrades to the Quadra Island Community Centre, which serves as the area’s Emergency Operations Centre during catastrophic emergencies.

City of Vancouver – $100,000

  • In order to help prepare for an earthquake, the Province is providing Vancouverites with the means to help themselves. This funding will empower Vancouver neighbourhoods through an expansion of the disaster-support hub pilot project to prepare for the ever-present threat of earthquakes. Disaster-support hubs are designated locations where the public can initially gather to coordinate your efforts and offer assistance to other members of your community.

Science World (City of Vancouver) – $25,000

  • Funds will allow Science World to waive admission during national Emergency Preparedness Week in May when it hosts Lower Mainland students and helps to educate them through presentations and interactive learning materials about the importance of being prepared for natural disasters.

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