DEEP made the news recently when CBC reporters arrived to report on our April 22 community preparedness exercise. Cindi Barker from Seattle Disaster Hubs again offered her generous support to help test the disaster support hub concept. Thirty residents, city emergency volunteers and city staff turned up to learn how to train community members on how to support each other in the event of a disaster. The city also recorded the event and produced a short summary video and a longer training video for other communities interested in learning more. Watch video.
The exercise was designed to further develop the recently launched City of Vancouver ‘program’ for citizen emergency response – the Disaster Support Hub. These are designated spots where neighbours are directed to meet and offer each other help and figure out next steps after a disaster.
We practiced a number of different scenarios – ‘I have a chain saw to offer’‘; ‘I found this 4 year old on the street by herself’, ‘I’m a nurse how can I help’, ‘there’s a fire on my street and the winds are blowing it towards my house – what do I do?’, and other realistic possibilities.
Participant response was overwhelmingly positive, with energetic sharing and a feeling of ‘getting it’. From uncertainty to a solid confidence in being prepared to help lead and coordinate an effective response, these exercises are positive learning experiences and we plan to do more of them.
DEEP will be organizing a second scenario exercise in late September/early October to open up opportunities for other interested and concerned residents to practice what to do in the event of an emergency.
DEEP would like to thank the Dunbar Community Centre Association for their generous grant that enabled us to purchase a sea container and stock it with supplies crucial to helping ourselves help each other. The container includes emergency equipment like radios, enhanced first aid, tarps and search and rescue kits. It is does not contain emergency supplies of water and food as it is not intended to provide that type of support.