Safety Scene Fall 2019 - Page 17

Emergency Personal Preparedness (NEPP) workshops in community centres across Vancouver. You can register for a workshop by visiting such as copies of important documents and prescriptions for all family members in a go- kit in case you do need to leave after an earthquake. Have a conversation Do you know what kinds of hazards exist in your home or workplace? Do you know where to meet your loved ones if you can’t meet them at home? These are the simple yet important questions you should discuss with your family and your colleagues. Encourage employees to develop household emergency plans. The City of Vancouver offers a 10-step family emergency plan template as an easy planning guide to get you and your family started. Get to know your neighbours/ business network partners Being prepared isn’t just about what you have, it’s about who you know. After a major emergency such as an earthquake, neighbours need to rely on each other. Whether you live in a house or an apartment building, know who your neighbours are, what skills they have, and what they might need from you. Similarly, it is important to discuss and exchange emergency plans with all the suppliers and service providers. Be prepared to have employees trained on basic first aid training and how to aid employees or customers with special needs. How the City of Vancouver is preparing The City of Vancouver is actively planning and preparing for earthquakes and other hazards in a variety of ways. Most recently, the City conducted a full-scale emergency exercise in May 2019, testing the ability to respond to a moderate earthquake. The exercise, which involved over 600 participants included recreation centre evacuations, building and infrastructure inspections, search and rescue operations, and internal and external communications. Know how to connect After an earthquake, typical methods of communication may not be available. Even if the earthquake doesn’t damage telecommunication towers, networks may not be able to handle call volumes. You should prioritize text messaging, emails, and app- based communication over phone or video chats, because they are more likely to connect. Have an out-of-town contact everyone in your family can contact. You should also select a few designated meeting places in case you can’t reach your colleagues or family: one should be close to home and one should be further away. Keep in mind children, seniors, pets, and those with disabilities may require some extra planning. Have what you need to get by If possible, put aside essential supplies at home such as food, water, flashlights, a first aid kit, and other basic supplies. Critical services like water and gas may not be available after an earthquake; if you have the supplies you need and your home is not damaged, you can stay there even without power or water as long as you have supplies. You should also put a few essential items Some other key ways the City has worked to improve earthquake response and resilience include the following: • Upgrades to critical water, sewer and energy systems to increase seismic resilience in the event of an earthquake. • Development of communications plans, including the establishment of an emergency communications volunteer organization known as VECTOR. • Staff training and exercises for the city’s Emergency Operation Centre, Disaster Staging Areas, and other response teams. • Development and training of Canada Task Force 1, one of five Heavy Urban Search and Rescue operations in Canada. The City of Vancouver is preparing and planning for emergencies, but everyone has a role to play. Fall 2019 Edition: Emergency Preparedness Safety Scene 15