Every year, the first full week of May in British Columbia is Emergency Preparedness Week. This year, our government is contributing $700,000 to fund emergency management training and provide support to local governments around the province. This is great news for more than 2,000 emergency management staff and around 2,400 emergency social service volunteers. Over the coming months, they will be invited to attend a wide variety of regional workshops and online courses, made available by the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
The types of emergency challenges we face here in the North are unique and different from other parts of the province. In B.C., local authorities are responsible for planning and managing emergency responses within their jurisdictional areas. Giving our local authorities free reign to determine the types of courses most appropriate for our region ensures that we get exactly the help we need to be prepared for emergencies. Emergency Management B.C. will offer 60 courses this year. Each region in B.C. gets to choose 10 of these to offer emergency management professionals and emergency social service volunteers.
Some of the courses available this year will focus on how to support response departments and emergency operation centres in an emergency situation. Others will prepare participants for organizing evacuations, mapping their communities and determine re-entry procedures. Public education is also an important aspect of emergency preparedness, so some of this year’s courses will teach participants how to set up seminars, workshops and simulations within their communities. There will be wide range of activities all across B.C. to highlight the importance of being prepared for all types of emergencies.
These include putting together emergency kits, making emergency plans for our communities and our families, and identifying specific risks in our immediate environments. The courses offered by Emergency Preparedness B.C. will provide our emergency service professionals and volunteers with the skills they need to keep B.C. families safe by responding to emergencies effectively.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo Chilcotin.