Emergency preparedness has been in the forefront as of late.
The Fort McMurray fire has had a lot of people assessing how prepared they are should a catastrophic event occur closer to home and what they might grab if forced to evacuate their homes.
Perhaps some people have even been inspired to go a step or two further by developing personal evacuation plans and putting together emergency kits, for home and the car.
Of course, practice is required for those plans to be effective.
When things hit the fan, planning and practice can provide that beam of orderly light that cuts through the cloud of chaos. They offer needed guidance when running on adrenaline and help keep things and people, together.
Given how easy it is to be preoccupied with the demands of the day-to-day, it’s likely the number of people considering their emergency response is much greater than those actually planning one, let alone practising it. This leads us to the importance of the large-scale emergency training exercise that went down in Sicamous on Saturday.
Arranged by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Shuswap Emergency Program, and hosted by the District of Sicamous and Waterway Houseboats, an exercise brought together CSRD firefighters, BC Ambulance paramedics, local search and rescue groups and other emergency responders – about 200 people total. They worked together through the exercise, providing a co-ordinated response to mock-emergency scenarios on land and on water.
It’s fair to say the exercise was nowhere near the scope of the Fort McMurray emergency experience, let alone the flooding event of 2012 that decimated parts of Two Mile, including the Waterway site where the training exercise was held. While the latter incident was handled extraordinarily well, with no lives lost, there were clearly areas where things could have been improved. Saturday’s emergency training event made that clear, demonstrating how planning, practice and co-ordination can allow for cooler heads to prevail.