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

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

‘Two chicks by the sea’ saved by their guardian angels

North Saanich Fire Department rescues two snowed-in seniors

Car crashes into Fairfield gas pump after driver has medical emergency

One pump at the Fairfield Petro Auto Centre will need to be replaced

Nine jobs at the Victoria Police Department at risk after budget decision

VicPD Chief Const. Del Manak said the police department is being treated ‘unfairly’

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read