VICTORIA - The B.C. government, the Government of Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross have brought the Canadian Red Cross Health Emergency Response Unit (ERU) training to British Columbia for the first time as they work together to strengthen preparation and response to a catastrophic disaster such as an earthquake.
The Red Cross ERU is a standardized package of both trained personnel and modules of equipment that are ready to be deployed within 24 - 48 hours to areas hit by a catastrophic disaster. More than 40 international Red Cross delegates including doctors, nurses and technicians from around the world are training in Sidney at the mobile hospital to ensure they will be ready to be deployed with the hospital anywhere - including to British Columbia - on short notice when a catastrophic disaster or emergency hits.
The Province and the Red Cross formalized a partnership in 2012 - the first of its kind in Canada - to help ensure timely and effective deployment of national or international ERUs as temporary resources to assist British Columbia in times of a catastrophic disaster. This could be when first responders, emergency management organizations, infrastructure such as water, sanitation systems and basic human services like health facilities, could be overwhelmed.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Suzanne Anton -
“The Red Cross is a beacon of hope for people when disaster strikes. This partnership enhances our government’s ability to mitigate, respond and recover to the impacts of a disaster. This exercise is an opportunity to ensure we are capable of supporting the activation of the ERU in support of British Columbians.”
Minister of Health Terry Lake -
“Emergencies are unpredictable and can threaten public safety as well as public health by constricting access to vital health services or limiting the ability to get people the immediate care they need. Exercises like these help ensure that we are better prepared to collaboratively respond to a catastrophic disaster.”
Canadian Red Cross secretary general and chief executive officer Conrad Sauvé -
“The Canadian Red Cross is an effective channel for the people of British Columbia and all Canadians to express care for their neighbours and people around the world. The Canadian Red Cross gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canadian government’s international humanitarian assistance program in the establishment and development of the Red Cross ERU.”
Canadian Red Cross Society B.C. and Yukon provincial director Kimberley Nemrava -
“We’re so thrilled to be working with the Province to bring the Red Cross Health Emergency Response Unit training to British Columbia. It’s exactly this type of partnership, planning and co-ordination that will help us better prepare for - and respond to - catastrophic disasters.”
- The Canadian Red Cross Society is a non-profit, humanitarian organization, dedicated to helping vulnerable communities in Canada and around the world with a specific focus on disasters and emergencies, and community health and wellness programming.
- All Red Cross programs and activities are guided by the Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.
- ERUs are fully self-sufficient for one month and can be deployed for up to four months.
- The Red Cross Health ERU recently supported the damaged hospital in Ormoc, Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.
- Thanks to support from the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the Canadian Red Cross has an ERU on stand-by at all times.
For more on Red Cross programs, services and preparedness tips, visit www.redcross.ca, join us on Facebook (facebook.com/crcbcy), or follow us on Twitter (@RedCrossBC).
Photos of Health Emergency Response Units in action can be found on the Red Cross flickr site: http://www.flickr.com//photos/canadian_redcross/show/.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
Canadian Red Cross
Cheekwan Ho, Communications Manager B.C. & Yukon