Andre Rodrigue

Prepared for disaster

Royal Roads University students nominate Metchosin for United Nations designation as a disaster-resilient community

A group of Royal Roads University students was so impressed with Metchosin’s disaster management programs, they nominated the municipality for a United Nations designation as a disaster-resilient community that can serve as a role model to other cities around the world.

If selected Metchosin could help communities around the world be better prepared for disasters.

The RRU students have spent the past three weeks turning Metchosin upside down to see what the small community could withstand as far as disasters go.

The 14 students are sending their report and a short film documenting their findings to the UN.

Metchosin’s disaster awareness programs blew the students away, who were unsure of what they would expect from the small community.

“We found an impressive, impressive amount of volunteerism,” said RRU student Daniel Burgi, a firefighter from Maple Ridge.

Last year, between Metchosin Emergency Social Services and the fire department, volunteers accumulated 19,000 hours of service.

“I thought it was a typo and had to double check,” Burgi said. “And that is just a piece of the volunteer work in the community.”

The students praised Metchosin for its work on maintaining roads and replacing old bridges. They were also very impressed with bylaws limiting development in riparian areas, on slopes and near shores.

The Metchosin Community House was built to double as a comfort centre with a kitchen and shower for community use.

The schools in Metchosin, as well as the Boys and Girls Camp, are also designated areas for residents to go in event of disaster.

Burgi also noted that residents unofficially open up their homes to neighbours in need of shelter.

The Disaster and Emergency Management master’s degree students also prepared suggestions for Metchosin to improve its disaster management. Ideas included having residents participate in a wood stove exchange program.

“Residents could exchange an old wood stove for a higher efficiency stove,” said RRU student Nils Gorseth, a firefighter from Vancouver.

Using more efficient stoves has both environmental and disaster management benefits.

“Any safety measures you take for your structure helps influence disaster management,” said Stephanie Dunlop, Metchosin fire chief and emergency program manager. “Even a simple spark from a compromised chimney could cause in an interface wildfire.”

Other suggestions were to use the fire department’s siren to alert the community of a disaster. Currently, it’s used to notify volunteer firefighters of an emergency.

However, Dunlop is concerned the single tone is heard often and residents may ignore if it were used for a disaster. She has looked into getting a multi-tone siren that could be heard across the district.

Mayor John Ranns appreciated that many of the students suggestions could be done at little or no cost.

“If you look at the pictures on the wall you can see I have been around her for a while and I have read a lot of reports,” said Ranns. “Your recommendations are things we could actually do. I think this will enhance our community.”

Just Posted

Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

Victoria-based SAR will do all rescues in local harbour and parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

Police charge 27-year-old man with weapons offences after Langford shooting

Justin Lemmen was arrested shortly after the shooting after crashing into a truck

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read