Emergency Management Program changes are coming

The City is attempting to enhance the delivery of the Revelstoke and Area Emergency Management Program (RAEMP).

A statement from the City said the RAEMP covers Revelstoke and all of Electoral Area B of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD). That is an area of more than 10,000 square kilometers stretching from Mica Creek in the North to Trout Lake in the South.

The enhanced program will see the creation of a dedicated Emergency Program Coordinator position combined with a professional firefighter Training Officer / Assistant Chief’s position working out of the Revelstoke Fire Station. The person occupying this position will work on emergency management activities “leading to increased coordination, co-operation, collaboration, capacity and integration between the levels of government and other agencies involved in emergency management, planning/preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation,” the statement said.

The program is funded by a tax requisition through the CSRD. Historically, the Emergency Program Coordinator (EPC) was a contract position funded from that requisition. Since 2014 the Revelstoke Fire Chief has served as the interim EPC without additional compensation. Over the past 2½ years program funding was utilized to outfit a full-capacity Emergency Operations Centre for the RAEMP at the Revelstoke Airport. Having the Fire Chief serve also as the EPC is not sustainable over the long term due to the high likelihood of the Fire Chief being needed as incident commander in a number of different emergency and disaster scenarios. The transition is expected to occur in September. Meanwhile, an additional flex firefighter position is to be created to ensure that the 24/7 full-service response level provided by the Fire and Rescue Service is maintained. This will require a City tax requisition starting in 2017.

The statement said that recent events such as the Fort McMurray wildfires and current flooding in the Northeast area of BC highlight the need to enhance emergency management and preparedness. Residents in the RAEMP program are asked to ensure that they and their families are prepared for emergencies and have a household plan and emergency kit that will sustain them with food, water and supplies for a minimum of 72 hours. More information can be found at the following link: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery.