Emergency Preparedness Week 2016 will be remembered for the wildfires that ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta.  At the time of writing this blog post, the wildfire has surpassed over 101,000 hectares and damage costs according to Bank of Montreal could reach $9 billion for insurers. The overwhelming speed of the fire and the severe impacts it has had to the city and its residents emphasize the need to be prepared and reinforces the message of EP Week – Plan. Prepare. Be Aware.

From coast to coast across Canada — businesses, municipalities and provinces had creative and innovative ways to encourage people and businesses to take action and be prepared during EP Week:

1.      Recipe for Disaster Series

The City of Victoria developed the Recipe for Disaster series to help prepare Victoria residents, as well as small businesses to cope for a minimum of three days during a disaster event. If you haven’t had the chance to read the series, check it out here.

2.      Prepare Your Selfie

On the east coast, the province of Ontario started a twitter trend called #PrepareYourSelfie where people share and tag selfies of themselves working towards preparedness. It was a terrific approach to encourage people to participate and think about their preparedness strategies.

3.      Build Your Kit

Back on the west coast, the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services challenged Vancouver to build their emergency preparedness kits one week and one piece at a time by posting the items on twitter using the hashtag #buildyourkit. Check out their video for week 1.

As for what we at CCEM Strategies did?

We tested the earthquake simulator, or what is better known in BC as the Quake Cottage, at Science World on April 29, and took part in Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service’s #buildyourkit challenge. In addition to the fun activities, our team wrote a 3-part series for preparing coastal businesses – providing guidance on business continuity strategies for tsunamis, earthquakes and floods.  And, in the wake of the destruction of the Fort McMurray wildfire, shared our insights for having a back-up plan for your Emergency Operations Centre.

From a catastrophic wildfire currently underway in Alberta to the multitude of innovative activities which occurred for EP Week this year, it’s evident that the time to get prepared is now. Thank you to everyone who got involved and supported this event to ensure its success. If you have questions about strategies for being prepared or would simply like to know more about our services, please contact us today.