Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is the North Shore Ready for Fire?

Like everyone else I've been watching the wildfires in the interior of BC, and even had family members unable to get to their home near Kelowna.  It's all a good reminder that we're also sitting on the edge of forest, and sometimes the woods get pretty hot and dry.

Here on the North Shore we have a regional body that coordinates emergency services - North Shore Emergency Management. From their offices above the RCMP detachment in North Vancouver they offer workshops, training, and try to anticipate what kinds of disasters might befall us, and how we might survive.  They do good work.

Still though, if you scour their site you'll see a whole lot of "be prepared" advice - fill up your closets with food, water, and Grab and Go bags, and don't forget about your cats and dogs -  but not much about what is in place after the Big One arrives.

In working with the NSEM people the one thing I took away is that you really need to think about your own circumstance, how you might find yourself isolated if one or more bridges are blocked, and a realisation that it will quickly come down to every person for themselves.

As much as we might snicker at the Preppers south of the border,  we should understand that our local and provincial governments probably won't have resources available to help everyone who needs it.

This month, as soon as this year's fires abate, you can expect a series of stories describing a lack of resources for people who have lost homes or jobs,  shortfalls in government services, and complaints about mean-spirited insurance companies.  And, if we're lucky, an examination of how many of the recommendations that followed the 2003 Firestorm Review were actually acted on.

In the meantime we should all be talking to our elected officials about what we can expect in the event of an earthquake or major fire.

UPDATE: Hot off the presses at the District of North Vancouver is the new  Community Wildfire Protection Plan 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If your priorities are a)limited loss of life and limb, b)continuity of our economy and institutions, c)limited private property loss, then I would say earthquakes and disease are really the only terrestrial natural disasters where we are not ready. Everything else we can manage, but a strong earthquake can be so uniquely devastating that the cost to adequately prepare is prohibitive. Disease can result in societal breakdown so fast that it is always a threat and not something for which local preparation is focused. Fire won't affect 90% of the lower mainland so housing people, and caring for the sick will still occur quite handily. Flood, we live on a hill so at any given time, again it will only affect a small portion of the population.

I am not a conspiracy theorist but I am growing more concerned that an electromagnetic blast could be the weapon of choice for future state or non-state conflicts, and we have zero defense against it.

Barry Rueger said...

UPDATE: Hot off the presses at the District of North Vancouver is the new  Community Wildfire Protection Plan