Home Sections Emergency Preparedness & Safety West shore emergency preparedness info fair

West shore emergency preparedness info fair

Monday May 8, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC

Coverage and photos by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

There was a big and steady turnout for the 13th West Shore Emergency Preparedness Info Fair on Sunday May 7 outdoors at West Shore Parks and Recreation in Colwood. The weather was sunny and springlike-warm, with a light breeze.

That was at the launch of Emergency Preparedness Week in BC which runs May 7 to 13. Today Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, Bowinn Ma, reminded all British Columbians to have a grab-and-go bag ready for every member of the family at any time. Bags can be at home, in your car, or place of work.

The four-hour event on Sunday was an opportunity for local fire rescue, emergency support services and other emergency response agencies to present information to the public.

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Jaws of Life demonstration at West Shore Emergency Info Fair on May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Information booths included Langford Fire Rescue, Colwood ESS, Colwood Fire Rescue, Colwood Emergency Radio, Island Health Security Services, Metchosin Fire Department, View Royal Fire, Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, FireSmart and others including FortisBC and a private spill response organization.

Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop said this was the first fair since 2019, with a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.

A demonstration of how a vehicle is opened up using equipment such as the Jaws of Life was a big crowd draw. That event gives firefighter recruits some training in use of the equipment.

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Island Health Emergency security services at West Shore Emergency Services, May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Ambulance, first aid, emergency kit preparation, utility safety, hazmat response, rescue, amateur radio and much more was covered among 25 or more booths and displays.

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View Royal Emergency Program info booth, May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Preparation for emergencies starts with a grab and go bag for every member of the family; prepare for up to seven days of self-sufficiency. Also have a larger emergency kit for riding out the impacts of an emergency.

Emergency supply vendors were on hand.

Langford-Juan de Fuca BC Greens candidate Camille Currie and her son Aidan chatted with the Island Health Protection Service reps, May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Preparing for heat impacts is an important part of emergency preparedness in summer. Staying cool and hydrated are important.

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People who were the most impacted during the heat wave of June 2021 (during which over 550 people died) were elderly, people with mobility issues, and in many cases people living alone and in low-income households.

That happened despite notice of impending extreme heat by weather officials. Since then, the BC Government has responded with improved emergency plans including a Heat Alert and Response System (June 2022) and a new ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

First responders in Colwood are concerning themselves with how to reach that demographic, as those folks aren’t perhaps connected on social media and aren’t out and about in their communities.

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CRD reminds dog-walkers to pick up after their pets in parks. [Island Social Trends]

This was a day set aside for the public. Perhaps there were political VIPs on hand at the 11 am start, but for the most part it was the hands-on leadership and volunteers of the emergency services community that were on hand to present information and answer questions.

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BC FireSmart information booth in the West Shore, May 7, 2023.
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Firefighters and other first responders at the West Shore Emergency Info Fair, May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]
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Kids getting their info fair tour sheet stamped. May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]
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Firefighters and other first responders interacted with families and kids at the West Shore Emergency Info Fair, May 7, 2023. [Island Social Trends]
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Vehicle extraction demonstration at the West Shore Emergency Preparedness Info Fair in Colwood, May 7,2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]
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Spill Response team at the West Shore Emergency Information Fair on May 7, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

BC has a Spill Response Plan including guidelines for incident management.

On hand at yesterday’s event was the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation that is funded by five different large oil companies including Shell and Trans Mountain Pipeline. WCMRC is an industry-funded organization with more than 2,300 members. Membership is mandatory for vessels of a certain size calling on Canadian ports, as well as for oil-handling facilities receiving or shipping oil across their docks. WCMRC is a Transport Canada-certified spill response organization. On average they respond to 20 marine spills on the west coast each year. Their geographic area of response covers all 27,000 km of Western Canada’s coastline, extending to the 200 nautical mile limit. 

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Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends is published daily at  islandsocialtrends.ca.

Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher.

Mary Brooke has been covering politics, business, education and community trends through a socioeconomic lens since 2008 on south Vancouver Island. That began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), which morphed into the weekly print Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), followed by the weekly print/PDF newspaper West Shore Voice News (2014-2020); all three of those series are archived in the Sooke Region Museum permanent collections. Island Social Trends emerged as a fully online news portal in mid-2020.