Canada: Vancouver’s first-ever VanSlam simulates earthquake response
By Ben Mussett
More than 600 city staff and volunteers took part in a day-long series of emergency response scenarios that were set to run until 9 p.m. at over 30 different sites across northeast Vancouver and the west side. All hands were on deck, including the police, fire and rescue, the city’s engineering department and even the military, to simulate a range of crisis responses, including recreation centre evacuations, building and infrastructure inspections, and search and rescue operations.
“Exercises such as this are a vital part of ensuring the city is ready to respond to major emergencies as they allow us to thoroughly assess the strength of our plans and identify areas where we need to focus on further development,” Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid said in a press release earlier this week.
Located just west of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland remain at high risk of a large earthquake, known as a “megathrust quake,” as well as other smaller quakes, all which could wreak significant damage. According to the city, there is a one in four chance Vancouver will experience a “major” earthquake sometime in the next 50 years.
That’s why the city is working hard to ensure Vancouver’s emergency preparedness strategy is as coordinated as possible in the event of a major earthquake or any other natural disaster, said Capt. Jonathan Gormick, a spokesperson for Vancouver Fire Rescue.