The Regional District of Nanaimo received two $25,000 grants from the Union of BC Municipalities to enhance the district’s emergency preparedness in electoral areas.
One grant will help fund a mobile emergency communications trailer to be used as an outpost for radio communications to and from the RDN emergency operations centre.
During an emergency, the new trailer would be “a reliable means of communication” between the RDN emergency operations centre, an incident site, Emergency Management BC and amateur radio operators, explained Catherine Morrison, RDN manager of emergency services. The Gabriola Fire Hall is already equipped with portable radio kits.
The second grant will be used to cover costs for group lodgings required for evacuees during an emergency as well as to set up volunteers to provide digital assistance through emergency support services.
At present, those needing emergency support connect with volunteers over the phone, who then make referrals for supports such as temporary lodging, food, clothing and toiletries.
“The grant funding is being used to build digital emergency support service kits, which include tablets, keyboards, mice and a printer,” said Morrison. This will enable use of Emergency Management BC’s online evacuee registration assistance tool, which allows for self-registration as well as digital delivery of referrals to support suppliers.
Morrison encourages residents to sign up for the RDN’s Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program, which equips neighbours to support one another before assistance can arrive.
“You will be better prepared to act quickly, better informed, know who to go to in your neighbourhood for specific skills and resources, know where to meet and you will not be alone in a time of disaster,” said Morrison. “Sharing detailed planning information with the emergency program can also expedite rescue operations such as sending first responders to the neighbourhood meeting location in an event where communication channels are disrupted.”
Only one neighbourhood on Gabriola has signed up, according to the map on the program website. To sign up or join an existing group, go to www.getinvolved.rdn.ca/nepp.