Emergency Fair part of Emergency Prep Week

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The Salt Spring Island Emergency Program (SSIEP) is anchoring an Emergency Fair at the Farmers’ Institute this Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with representation from Salt Spring’s emergency responder groups, plus several non-profit organizations and businesses. The event includes door prizes, booths, demonstrations, info and much more.

Other SSIEP news from recent months includes:

EOC and ESS

Salt Spring’s Emergency Operations Centre is currently located in the basement of the Service BC building on Lower Ganges Road, but Zook points out that the venue is not seismically safe and a new location is needed.

Interestingly, during the multi-agency Salish Sea Exercise led by the Coast Guard and BC Ferries last October, the EOC was able to “go mobile” as it was set up at Ganges Fire Hall. The Emergency Social Services team was also mobile at the Salt Spring Farmers’ Institute site during Salish Sea Ex.

Sea Can Project

With receipt of a grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the SSIEP was able to buy group-lodging supplies of food, water, cots, etc., to support more than 60 individuals in the event of a large-scale disaster. 

But the SSIEP still needs approximately $6,000 to purchase a Sea Can to hold the supplies. 

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92 has generously offered space on its Blain Road property for the Sea Can once it is acquired. Its location near Greenwoods, Braehaven and Lady Minto Hospital makes it an ideal spot.

Salt Spring’s emergency program receives approximately $100,000 in local taxpayer funding through the Capital Regional District, but must fundraise for purchase of some items.

Neighbourhood POD program

Salt Spring’s POD program currently has 350 leaders. More people are always welcome to help out. Specific positions needing to be filled are POD relayers, who are trained to use the GMRS radios, and people with first aid and other caregiving skills.

“I can’t say thank you enough to the volunteers we have now,” said Hanley. “Without them this program would not exist.”

Communications

A new SSIEP sub-group that has recently begun to meet will focus on improving communications between all the agencies during a large-scale disaster.

“In the past when we were involved in Level 1 and Level 2 disasters we would all gather at a certain area and the area would be under the incident command system,” explains deputy coordinator Laurel Hanley. “It works really well and we all follow it and so we know how to connect. But when there is a large-scale disaster there is more than one incident, so you could have various sites where you have commanders to send information to, so we have to make sure people can communicate properly through whatever device we choose at the time.”

A few more volunteers are welcome to join the communications team.

Public Alert Notification System

People are urged to sign up for the emergency alert system through www.crd.bc.ca/pans so they can be notified in the event of a tsunami or other disasters that may not be immediately obvious like an earthquake.

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