Building disaster-resiliency in Esquimalt

Esquimalt welcomes Royal Roads students for disaster-risk assessment

Royal Roads University students are debriefed on measures that CFB Esquimalt has in place in the event a disaster strikes

The Township of Esquimalt may become more resilient in the event a large-scale disaster strikes, thanks to some Royal Roads University students.

Fourteen second-year Disaster and Emergency Management master’s degree students are evaluating how the municipality could manage during a disaster, such as a disease outbreak or an earthquake.

In addition to helping the community improve its disaster resiliency, the students’ assessment could help the township earn a United Nations designation as a disaster-resilient community.

For a similar project, Royal Roads students evaluated Oak Bay, Saanich and View Royal last year, (all of whom?) have since earned the UN designation. North Vancouver and Nanaimo are the only other Canadian cities that have UN disaster-resilient status.

“That would be a real feather in our cap,” said Maegan Thompson, Esquimalt emergency program manager.

The students, working professionals with extensive experience in related fields such as emergency services or disaster management, began the Capstone residency project April 23.

They have since been meeting with Esquimalt managers and CFB Esquimalt officials, as well as attending disaster preparedness meetings. The object is to learn what Esquimalt has in place to help reduce loss of life, as well as economic and environmental resources, in a disaster.

“It’s a fact-finding week, so we’re poring over documents, disaster emergency plans; we’re poring through the websites,” said student team leader Conrad Cowan, a search-and-rescue technician with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Nova Scotia.

“We’re engaging the community. We’re interviewing who we think would have the answers to try and get our heads (around) what is in place, what’s not and how can we make this better.”

The group planned to present their report to Esquimalt’s mayor and council yesterday (May 10).

“It’s an opportunity to look at our successes and help with future planning, so it may identify gaps,” Thompson said.

Other than minimal staff time, the project is free of charge for Esquimalt.

Given the calibre of students and the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table, if the municipality had to pay for their evaluation, the price tag would be “massive,” Thompson said.

The students are also benefiting by working within a community, said Royal Roads associate faculty member Laurie Pearce, who is coaching the students through the Capstone project.

“This brings together all of the elements they learned about community participation, community engagement, key issues in disaster management … and also gives the community something in return,” she said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Did you know?

Royal Roads University and York University in Toronto are the only two Canadian universities that offer a graduate program in Disaster and Emergency Management.

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Funds being raised for double-amputee Ecuadorean dancer

North Saanich woman is putting out collection jars if people would like to donate

New report finds some Syrian refugees struggling in job market

Government-sponsored refugees have found it more than difficult than privately sponsored refugees

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read