Emergency Preparedness Week is here and now’s the time to seize the day and plan ahead.
I mean, scientists estimate that an earthquake causing structural damage will occur in Vancouver every 10 years.
And then there’s the fact Vancouver sits on the active Cascadia subduction zone, and there’s a 12% chance a megathrust earthquake will occur in the next 50 years.
OK that’s a downer, we know. We do live in a beautiful place. But with great beauty comes great responsibility (or something), and that responsibility is being prepared.
‘There’s no cavalry’
Daniel Stevens, director of emergency management at the City of Vancouver, told Daily Hive that we need to take the risk of an earthquake seriously.
“It’s really difficult to imagine sometimes what an earthquake looks like in Vancouver,” said Stevens.
“There will be damage to the roads, the transportation system, the power grid, to a lot of the services we depend on day-to-day.
“The reality is there’s no cavalry that’s going to be there in the immediate aftermath.”
The City and emergency services will be providing some service, but they will be limited, overstretched and taken to the highest priority areas, he said.
“The majority of people are going to be on their own for a number of days. We say 72 hours, but it could be up to a week,” said Stevens.
“So if you’re without power, without food, without electricity, you may be like that for an extended period of time.”
Stevens suggests getting to know your neighbours, stockpiling your supplies in an emergency kit and thinking about who’s in your neighbourhood.
“Think about who you want to talk to ahead of time, so you can leverage the support of your networks at the time of an earthquake.
“You may not have everything yourself, but someone around you is going to have something you need and you’ll have something to offer as well.”
‘Disasters are scary’
Maddy Laberge, a graduate student of Disaster and Emergency Management, told Daily Hive discussing plans for what to do in an earthquake often makes people uncomfortable.
“Disasters are scary, they seem unbeatable and unpredictable,” said Laberge. “Contrary to popular belief most fatalities, injuries, and damage following a disaster are preventable.”
Laberge says making a personal disaster plan, which will help you, your family, and your friends know what to do in case of an emergency, is essential.
Part of this plan should be deciding on the disaster hub where you can meet to coordinate your efforts, and offer help to other members of your community.
Stevens said in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake, the disaster hubs will be a place for grassroots support, meeting loved ones, and sharing resources.
In the days and weeks following an earthquake, Stevens said, the services being offered at the hubs will become more formal.
Services will depend on the impacts to the community, and the needs of each neighbourhood, but may include:
- Group lodging and shelter
- Distribution of food, water, clothing and supplies
- Recovery information
- Support for reuniting families
- Support for dog and cat owners
So that you can find the right disaster hub for you, here is a full list of all 25 of Vancouver’s disaster support hubs, organized roughly by neighbourhood, in alphabetical order.
Coal Harbour Community Centre
480 Broughton St , Vancouver, BC
Dunbar Community Centre
4747 Dunbar St , Vancouver, BC
False Creek Community Centre
1318 Cartwright St , Vancouver, BC
Britannia Community Centre
1661 Napier St , Vancouver, BC
400 Powell Street , Vancouver, BC
Thunderbird Community Centre
2311 Cassiar St , Vancouver, BC
Hastings Community Centre
3096 E Hastings St , Vancouver, BC
Trout Lake Community Centre
3360 Victoria Drive , Vancouver, BC
Kensington Community Centre
5175 Dumfries St , Vancouver, BC
Kerrisdale Community Centre
5851 West Boulevard , Vancouver, BC
Killarney Community Centre
6260 Killarney St , Vancouver, BC
Champlain Heights Community Centre
3350 Maquinna Drive , Vancouver, BC
Kitsilano War Memorial Community Centre
2690 Larch St , Vancouver, BC
Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre
990 W 59th Av , Vancouver, BC
Douglas Park Community Centre
801 W 22nd Av , Vancouver, BC
Mount Pleasant Community Centre
1 Kingsway , Vancouver, BC
Creekside Community Centre
1 Athletes Way , Vancouver, BC
West Point Grey Community Centre
4397 W 2nd Av , Vancouver, BC
Renfrew Park Community Centre
2929 E 22nd Av , Vancouver, BC
Hillcrest Community Centre
4575 Clancy Loranger Way , Vancouver, BC
Sunset Community Centre
6810 Main St , Vancouver, BC
Strathcona Community Centre
601 Keefer St , Vancouver, BC
1950 Argyle Drive , Vancouver, BC
West End Community Centre
870 Denman St , Vancouver, BC
Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews , Vancouver, BC