The Village of Burns Lake has expressed an interest in working with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako on developing a template agreement for a joint emergency service. 

Improving emergency preparedness

Regional district proposes joint response to emergency events

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) is looking into partnering with municipalities in order to improve the response to emergency events across the region.

The RDBN currently relies upon municipal emergency support services (ESS) teams to provide services to the rural areas. However, not all areas have enough ESS members to assist the public in the event of an emergency.

While Electoral Area D (Fraser Lake rural) has 12 ESS members, Electoral Area B (Burns Lake rural) and Electoral Area E (Francois/Ootsa rural) have six members. Other areas such as Electoral G (Houston rural) and Electoral Area F (Vanderhoof rural) have zero ESS members.

This means that in the event of an emergency, the RDBN must transfer ESS teams from one area to another.

“This increases volunteer burnout and increases costs for travel, food and accommodation,” wrote Haley Jeffrey, emergency services manager for the RDBN, in a report recently presented to the regional district’s board.

In addition, Jeffrey said the RDBN has had to respond to emergency situations within municipal boundaries because of a lack of local capacity. Furthermore, she says the RDBN’s use of municipal ESS teams is at the discretion of the municipalities.

In order to ensure an effective response to emergency events, Jeffrey says the regional district’s overall ESS capacity needs to improve.

“In staff’s opinion the most effective, equitable, and efficient approach to ESS involves all local governments in the RDBN contributing equally to a regional strategy in a coordinated manner,” she said.

In this proposed scenario, the RDBN would play a key role in organizing and funding training for all teams while the municipalities would assume responsibility for recruitment, holding regular meetings and ESS team engagement.

The Village of Burns Lake has expressed an interest in working with the RDBN on developing a template agreement.

“The village is interested in hearing what the regional district has to say and is always open to exploring more effective and efficient ways of doing business,” said Sheryl Worthing, chief administrative officer for the Village of Burns Lake.

Currently, when an emergency event occurs within Burns Lake boundaries, the village operates the emergency response. If the emergency occurs outside village boundaries, the regional district then coordinates the response.

“We often lend support and man power [to the RDBN] if it is available, so staff thought it may be beneficial to look into having a joint service,” said Worthing.

Staff from both the regional district and the village will soon start working on a template agreement which will later be used to facilitate detailed discussions with all RDBN member municipalities.

Emergency support services (ESS) is a community-based provincial emergency response program designed to preserve the well-being of people who are affected by an emergency event ranging in scale from events such as an individual house fire to disasters involving mass evacuations. Typical ESS activities include providing food, clothing, accommodations and other assistance to individuals displaced by an emergency event.


Just Posted

Man sustains minor injuries after motorcycle crash

A motorcycle driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries after he… Continue reading

Burns Lake celebrates Aboriginal Day

Burns Lake kicked off Aboriginal Day on June 21 with a parade… Continue reading

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Snow covers southern B.C. highway

Burns Lake residents might not be happy about the cooler temperatures this… Continue reading

Community targets VQO rules amid fire safety concerns

Wildfire season is upon us in northern British Columbia, and some Burns… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read