B.C., Public Safety Canada testing earthquake preparedness with Coastal Response 2023
February 6, 2023
By Avert staff
Around 50 emergency operations centres (EOCs) across B.C. are taking part in an exercise this week responding to a simulated 6.8-magnitude earthquake that would affect the Lower Mainland.
The large-scale emergency preparedness training exercise, called Coastal Response 2023, kicked off with a simulated alert sent out by B.C.’s Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness on Friday to participating EOCs.
The exercise begins four days into the simulated earthquake event off the coast of Richmond and Tsawwassen. According to a government news release, the exercise will test overall preparedness and focus on co-ordination and inter-agency communication. It will also test the province’s earthquake response strategy that was updated last fall.
Bowinn Ma, B.C.’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said in a statement the large-scale multi-jurisdictional exercise will test and strengthen emergency plans.
“While the province, the federal government and our emergency management partners work together to ensure we are always prepared to respond, individuals and families are also reminded to ensure they have emergency kits ready in their homes,” Ma said.
In B.C., the exercise is being co-ordinated between three EMCR emergency operations centres: the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre, the Southwest Region Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre and Central Region PREOC.
Public Safety Canada is co-ordinating the simulated federal government response through emergency operations centres and staff participating from Ottawa and regionally.
“Emergency management is a shared responsibility in Canada, and when natural disasters strike, it is imperative that co-ordination between all orders of government and emergency management partners be seamless,” federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said in a statement. “Exercises like Coastal Response 2023 provide us with the information and experience we need to continuously improve how we co-ordinate our response to emergency events. Through the partnerships that are built and strengthened by these exercises, Canadians can be confident that we will be ready when disasters occur.”
B.C.’s held a similar response exercise in 2016, simulating a magnitude 9.0 earthquake from a rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, approximately 150 kilometres off the coast of southwestern B.C.
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