Entries tagged with “EP”
A public service announcement: do you have a working flashlight in your home? Do you know where it is, should things go bump in the night, or there is a power outage, or a fire | earthquake | storm of locusts?
Scene at a recent fire in Vancouver.
An electrical fire knocking out the power and heat in half a downtown high-rise building had members of Vancouver's Emergency Social Services / Disaster Assistance Team respond to provide emergency shelter.
If the answer to the above questions is no, then how about making 2012 the year you make sure you have portable lighting readily available in your home, your office, and your car | bike | rickshaw? Once that's done, then move on to creating | replenishing | stocking up that emergency kit(s) you keep promising you'll look after but never get around to checking off the task from your to-do list.
A resilient community starts with prepared individuals and families.
The City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) has posted on it's page (http://vancouver.ca/emerg/NEPP/) a number of videos. Watch volunteer-produced 10 Steps to Home Preparedness - it's excellent!
I'm very involved in emergency preparedness and response as a volunteer with the city's Disaster Assistance Team and the video even reminded me of something I have neglected to prepare for!
I find it hard to watch the news coverage coming out of China following the massive earthquake there on Monday. A group I support fully in their campaign to encourage B.C. government to address the well-known school seismic safety issues in our own province, Families for School Seismic Safety, issued a statement today:
Families for School Seismic Safety
May 13, 2008
Statement in response to earthquake in China
VANCOUVER — In response to the tragic news from China in the wake of the earthquake that struck the Sichaun province, Families For School Seismic Safety (FSSS) expresses its condolences to the victims and their families, and encourages
all levels of government to act swiftly to ensure similar tragedies are prevented.
According to news reports, thousands are dead and thousands more are trapped in building collapses following the powerful 7.9 magnitude quake. News agencies are reporting several school collapses that killed hundreds of children and trapped
FSSS formed after the 2002 Italian earthquake, which claimed the lives of 26 students. Parents were shocked to learn that while homes withstood the earthquake, it was the school that collapsed.
“These terrible tragedies can and must be prevented, and we know how to prevent them,” says FSSS director Nathan Lusignan. “We’d hoped we’d never hear news reports like this again — reports of children being buried in their collapsed
schools. But since then, many more schools have collapsed and many children have perished. These are preventable tragedies. They should not happen.”
In 2005, the BC government identified more than 700 BC schools as requiring seismic upgrades. Progress, however, has been very slow and few schools have been completed. Thousands of BC students continue to spend their days in schools assessed as being at high risk of significant structural damage in the event of an earthquake.
FSSS urges all levels of government to take an integrated approach to ensuring schools are upgraded in a timely way and in a manner that provides the best possible educational facilities to safely and effectively service future generations of students.
“We need concrete plans and clear timelines to ensure the work gets done as promised,” says Lusignan.
What is truly tragic about this situation - and will be when, not if, Vancouver is hit by a major seismic event - is that school populations are disproportionately represented in casualties. Think about it - 55,000 Vancouver children head off to school each morning and a majority of the facilities are so seismically unsafe that you could not open a coffee shop in one without spending tens of millions of dollars. Many are turn of the century buildings; most were built long before seismic safety even began to be recognized in our building codes.
If you are a Vancouver area parent or citizen I urge you to make your voice heard on this issue. The primary culprit in the on-going delays is the B.C. government, not local school boards.
Attached is PDF file containing Ministry of Education Seismic Safety Assessments; in older municipalities, such as Vancouver, you'll find the majority of buildings are listed as Moderate or High risk of structural failure in the event of a significant seismic event.
Its EP Week, don’t ya know. What’s that? Its an annual reminder that we all should be personally prepared – at home, at work, and in-between, to survive a significant regional disaster on our own without the help of emergency services for at least a week.
It takes very little planning and forethought to make sure you have enough water and food on hand, and other basic essentials, to survive a week without power or additional groceries or running tap water. Yet despite how easy it is to prepare, few are prepared.
Think back to the residents of New Orleans two summers ago and then consider what Vancouver would be like after a 7.0 or 8+ magnitude earthquake, and you would more or less correctly envision the situation here in Vancouver – access to the city cut off, supplies limited and scarce within hours.
A big quake (or an industrial spill or power outage or…) Could happen 10 minutes from now. So start preparing.
Live in Vancouver? Attend one of these free emergency preparedness “how-to” sessions (to register, call the community centre):
- Tuesday, May 8 at 7 pm, West End Community Centre (604) 257–8333
- Wednesday, May 9 at 7 pm, Renfrew Community Centre (604) 257–8388
- Saturday May 12 at 10 am, Trout Lake Community Centre (604) 257–6955
- Saturday May 19 at 2 pm, West End Community Centre (604) 257–8333
- Wednesday May 16 at 7 pm, Dunbar Community Center (604) 222–6060
- Wednesday June 6 at 7 pm, Kits Community Centre (604) 257–6976
M 4.3, Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada region (via USGS Earthquake Center)
Is your child’s school seismically safe?
Pop quiz: how many schools in Vancouver need seismic upgrades. Answer? Sadly, almost all of them. More than 90 of Vancouver’s 109 schools need seismic safety upgrades, many urgently so, and a significant number of those schools should in fact be demolished and rebuilt. See Families for School Seismic Safety for more information.
Dave Winer has issued a call to action to bring IT to disaster relief, and there are already some folks applying their minds to the problem and are creating XML solutions.
Suggestion: Don’t write one line of code, not one XML spec, until you’ve worked a week in a Red Cross call center on family reunification tasks.
You’ll come away with a much better appreciation for the requirements and the scope of the task. What’s more you’ll understand that the user groups involved – victims; separated family; anxious friends; employers; disaster relief volunteers and professionals – all have different needs and abilities to contribute to the task of reunification.
You’ll also understand that a wholly electronic system can’t be envisioned, at least not for all of the various stages of a disaster.
Any solution crafted without direct experience in the thick of things will fall short; that’s not to say such a solution might not be useful and fill holes or create opportunity where today there is none – not at all.
Volunteering with the Red Cross in a call center will open eyes and stimulate thinking. What’s more – and forget all the technology stuff – just volunteering with the Red Cross will leave you with a warm feeling inside.