On October 15, 2016, the District of Squamish and Squamish Nation launched their cross-jurisdictional emergency preparedness partnership with a live demonstration of the entire program – all in perfect timing for Shakeout BC. This program is designed to notify, inform, and mobilize Squamish citizens in the event of any emergency, and ePACT is honored to be a part of this resiliency initiative.
Making the Announcement
Prior to the mock evacuation exercise and demonstration of the Squamish Program, key community members gathered at Brackendale Elementary School for an official media announcement.
Squamish District’s Acting Mayor, Susan Chapelle, and Squamish Nation Councillor, Chris Lewis, introduced the new program, speaking to its importance within both communities, before inviting honored guests to the stage to share their personal experience with natural disasters, and enthusiasm for the future of emergency preparedness. Guests included:
- Squamish District Fire Chief, Bill Stoner
- Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones
- Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness and MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Naomi Yamamoto
- MLA West Vancouver – Sea-to-Sky Jordan Sturdy
- Squamish Nation Councillor and Resident, Carla George
- ePACT CEO and Co-founder, Christine Sommers
As the Incident Command Post, the school is also where ten organizations with more than 75 first responders came together for a briefing before heading out into the local area to “evacuate” residents.
Following a briefing led by Fire Chief Bill Stoner, emergency responders were teamed up with local peace keepers to visit 660 Brackendale-area and Cheakamus reserve residents for door-to-door notifications.
Emergency responders practiced the evacuation notification, shared critical information for emergency preparedness, and also tested their emergency alerts via voice, email and text message using ePACT.
As this was a mock evacuation, no one was actually asked to leave but residents were encouraged to visit Totem Hall, the designated reception area for emergencies.
Totem Hall Reception Center
Following the evacuation, the Reception Center at Totem Hall opened, ready to accept mock evacuees as they practiced registering themselves as safe. Volunteers were available to test their own processes for accepting residents, answer questions, and provide additional information about emergency evacuation procedures.
The Red Cross was also on site to test its Emergency Social Services for any residents that might require special assistance in the event of an emergency, including their pet registration system.
Overall, October 15 was an amazing example of the strong commitment to public safety and resident engagement on the part of both the Squamish Nation and District of Squamish. Working together to develop coordinated emergency preparedness and response processes is truly commendable, and we are extremely proud to be a part of it!
If you are a Squamish resident and would like more information or to sign up for the new program, please visit one or both of the following pages:
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