Visitors to last year’s Regional Emergency Preparedness Fair take in the sights and sounds of the annual event including the bomb disposal area. The fair helps keep West Shore residents ready in the event disaster strikes

Preparing for the inevitable

Ninth annual fair promotes preparation in the community

Are you ready for the big one?

The ninth annual Regional Emergency Preparedness Fair returns to ensure residents are ready should a natural disaster or major emergency strike.

Emergency vehicles, supplies and equipment will be on display at Juan de Fuca Senior Activity Centre at West Shore Parks and Recreation showcasing the pillars of emergency management: preparation, mitigation, response and recovery.

“Prepare today,  survive tomorrow… Basically it speaks for itself,” said Tom Burchill, director of Langford Emergency Support Services. “Until something happens it’s not first on their agenda or first on subjects on what to do… People don’t take it seriously enough.”

Burchill, will be at the fair, showing off an emergency lodging trailer to visitors.

He added different areas around Greater Victoria have different needs and to be aware of what those might be.

Because Victoria is right on sea level, the likelihood of a tsunami is more likely there than on the West Shore where it’s more likely a large fire catches the trees and burns down the Malahat towards Langford.

“It’s a good possibility we are going to have (an earthquake), but of course no one can predict when that will happen. We have small earth tremors… you just don’t feel them,” he said. “If you look at some of the buildings in downtown Victoria, they aren’t retrofitted, so there will be a lot of disaster down there if there is an earthquake.”

While bringing attention to disasters from a destructive earthquake, to a personal disaster like a house fire is important, the sombre content doesn’t mean the fair can’t be enjoyable for the entire family.

“Fun isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of emergency preparedness, but this event is really fun,” said Colwood spokesperson Sandra Russell.

“Kids can climb up and into armoured vehicles, put out fires, operate a bomb disposal robot, drive the safety village cars and more.”

Colwood is one of only seven communities in Canada recommended as a Role Model City in the United Nations Making Cities Resilient campaign according to an evaluation by Royal Roads University Masters of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management.

Colwood checked seven out of the ten essential components of a resilient city.

“We hope none of this equipment will be needed in our community any time soon, but it’s important for each of us to be prepared and know that our region has the people and the tools ready to help in emergencies,” Russell said.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1 at West Shore Parks and Recreation, 1767 Island Highway.

alim@goldstream

gazette.com

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