The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and the District of Lantzville have been approved for a $30,139 grant from the province for Emergency Support Services (ESS) training and equipment.
The ESS grant is funded by the ministry of public safety and administered by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). It will enable the RDN and Lantzville to provide locally focused training to volunteers.
The sessions will build upon existing knowledge and experiences and provide opportunities to practice learning through custom-designed exercises, according to the RDN. The equipment being purchased through the grant will provide alignment with Emergency Management BC’s new ESS electronic delivery platform.
“Ongoing training is an important component in the effective and efficient delivery of emergency support services,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chair. “With this grant, the RDN and Lantzville have the opportunity to provide volunteers with training in their own community that incorporates the latest emergency response best practices. This helps ensure our ESS teams are as prepared as possible in the case of an ESS activation in the RDN.”
Participants will have four full training days, followed by two tabletop exercises with drills to reinforce their learning and build confidence in their skills. The exercises will explore a large wildfire evacuation from the ESS perspective and include vital topics, such as existing capabilities, communication processes, how ESS connects to the larger emergency management program, health and safety of volunteers and considerations regarding specialty populations.
“The District of Lantzville is pleased to be able to partner with the RDN in the training of our ESS volunteers,” said Mark Swain, mayor of the District of Lantzville. “Emergencies and disasters don’t follow jurisdictional borders. The ability for the ESS teams to train together will enhance regional preparedness and coordination.”
The training series will be designed with local procedures, regional hazards and the unique needs of the RDN and Lantzville ESS teams in mind. This will provide for scenarios which are more likely and applicable to the region and considers the volunteers who cannot access online training. It will enable real-time cross training with the RDN Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), the RDN said.
“Volunteers have a strong preference for in-person training,“ reads a joint media release from the RDN and Lantzville. “Local, in-person training sessions, when we can proceed with them, will help build team morale and lead to increased volunteer retention after a challenging year.”
The sessions will be developed so they can be easily converted into a virtual platform if required, the release said.