Grant Enhances City’s Emergency Response Capacity
Port Coquilam, BC – May 17, 2022… A recent provincial grant will help fund training and technology to strengthen Port Coquitlam’s ability to respond to emergencies.
The City has received $25,000 in Community Emergency Preparedness Funding from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to support Emergency Support Services (ESS) activities such as reception centres and evacuee registration. ESS is one aspect of a comprehensive Emergency Preparedness Program that prepares the City and community for major emergencies through planning, equipment stockpiling, training and community education, including the Community Safety Townhall for residents coming up on May 25.
“Grants like these not only help us complete critical work such as emergency planning, but they also reduce the burden on our taxpayers,” Mayor Brad West said. “Port Coquitlam has a long history of preparing for emergencies, but this work has become more crucial in recent years as sudden extreme weather events become more frequent. The investments we make now – in this case, with funding from the provincial government – will pay dividends during emergencies in terms of continuation of services and protection of lives and property.”
If evacuations are required during an emergency, the City may set up reception centres at locations such as the Port Coquitlam Community Centre or Hyde Creek Recreation Centre. As ESS personnel change and buildings and equipment are updated, periodic training is critical to ensure smooth and efficient services during a crisis.
The City will use the grant to conduct a series of workshops and exercises for ESS staff and volunteers covering topics such as reception centres and group lodging. The grant will also fund tablets and training for B.C.’s new ESS Evacuee and Registration Assistance (ERA) program, which streamlines support offered to evacuees regardless of time and place. The ERA system augments paper records that are still kept in case of telecommunications disruptions.
The training will also help the City identify further opportunities for improvement and lead to corresponding updates to the City’s ESS Plan.
“Emergency preparedness is an ongoing requirement – you’re never finished,” noted Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate for community safety matters. “Equipment needs updating as new innovations emerge, people come and go, the community changes. The City continually looks for opportunities to innovate, retrain and refresh our own capacity, while helping residents and businesses prepare themselves and understand the cost of non-complacency.”
Helping the Community Prepare
Community preparedness is a central element of the City’s emergency plan. The longer that residents and businesses can be self-sufficient after an emergency, the more resources the City can dedicate to restoring services, clearing roads and other response and recovery activities.
Resources to help residents and businesses prepare include:
- A free Community Safety Townhall on May 25, 7 to 8 p.m. in the Mabbett Hall at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre, focusing on the City’s new Alertable emergency notification app and what to do during floods, heat waves and wildfires. Space is limited; register for a spot by May 22 at portcoquitlam.ca/safetytownhall.
- The free Alertable app, which provides emergency alerts and notifications on what actions residents in Port Coquitlam need to take during an emergency. Visit portcoquitlam.ca/alertable for more information, inclusive of where to download the app.
- Free three-hour Community Courses on personal preparedness and basic fire suppression, with classroom and hands-on training, held at the No. 1 Fire Hall on Broadway Street. Register for upcoming sessions running from 9 a.m. to noon on June 4, Sept. 10 or Dec. 3 at portcoquitlam.ca/ep.
- Online and downloadable information at portcoquitlam.ca/ep, including the Are You Prepared? guide for residents and Emergency Preparedness Toolkit for Businesses.
For more information about the City’s emergency planning and preparedness resources, visit portcoquitlam.ca/ep or contact 604.927.5466.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam