The issue of emergency preparedness and a mass notification system in response to the tsunami warning on Jan. 23 was raised at View Royal’s council meeting Tuesday.
The Town has already held one information session for emergency preparation with more information available on its website.
Three people spoke about the issue at the meeting. Ian Forbes attended the first seminar hosted by the Town and View Royal Fire Rescue Capt. Troy Mollin. Forbes said he learned a lot about communication in the event of an earthquake or tsunami and will be creating a neighbourhood plan.
A letter was written to council after the Jan. 23 incident from members of the Chancellor Avenue and St. Giles Street community, a low lying area in View Royal, that were upset about not receiving notification of the tsunami. It turned out to be a false alarm, but residents were concerned for their safety if this was not a drill.
Fire Chief Paul Hurst addressed each issue in the letter and said he would be happy to meet with the neighbourhood to help with any questions or address procedure concerns.
He assured residents that View Royal is prepared for such an emergency and that no neighbourhoods were overlooked on Jan. 23. Hurst noted that there have been emergency preparedness seminars in the past, but that as a result of recent events they have started to host more information sessions. He added View Royal is advanced in creating emergency plans as other municipalities mirror the town.
The Feb 20th Session is now full. We have scheduled a 3rd session for Mon, Feb 26 at 6:30 pm @VRFD (Public Safety Building). Call 250-479-7322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat. Parking and seats are limited.
— View Royal Fire (@VRFD) February 7, 2018
The unfinalized budget for emergency planning is $175,474 for 2018. Last year the approved budget for emergency services was $170,971. Dedicated funding for the emergency program has been in place since 2005, which represents five per cent of the Town’s fire emergency and operating budget, Hurst said.
Hurst will be submitting an amendment to the 2018 budget to receive funding for mass notification.
View Royal has received a total of $50,000 in UBCM grants so far this year which goes towards funding emergency operations.
Due to increased interest View Royal opened two more emergency information sessions. The Feb. 20 session has already reached capacity and there is another one scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
***This article has been corrected from a previous version. Emergency managers across the region share their regional plans and ideas with each other. This helps teams better align plans and standardize response times and emergency messaging in the region.