Community shapes up with Shake-out drill

Chicken Little learned that the constant bearer of dire warnings soon feels isolated. When the threat is real and overdue, however, no one can afford to ignore the warnings that continue to come their way.

  • Feb. 15, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Cam Norris-Jones of Sooke Fire Rescue is pictured with the 40-kilowatt generator that will serve the community hall when needed.

Chicken Little learned that the constant bearer of dire warnings soon feels isolated. When the threat is real and overdue, however, no one can afford to ignore the warnings that continue to come their way.

That’s what late January’s Shake Out BC was about.

More than 200,000 people had been expected to take part in the province-wide earthquake drill in some way. If that many even thought about what they’d do in the event of a powerful quake, the drill most likely served it’s purpose.

Chief Steve Sorensen of Sooke Fire Rescue said he and his department were pleased by the level of local participation.

As time goes by and reports of damaging quakes come in from around the world, the more obvious it becomes that we too are in a seismically active area where a big tremor will occur at some point.

Sorensen expressed encouragement at how many folks took the drill seriously. He said all the schools except Edward Milne Community School took part, along with numerous businesses and agencies.

“Very positive” is how he described the exercise when contacted on February 10.

A highlight was the mock set up of the district’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Sorensen indicated, and the efficient, cooperative interaction between local and Juan de Fuca emergency personnel.

The actual EOC is a matter of weeks from being ready and will be set up in the board room on the main floor of the municipal building on Otter Point Road.

The chief informed that provincial approval had been given for the installation of a generator at the Sooke Community Hall, site of the district’s emergency evacuation centre, and the wiring was already going in.

“The generator is a 40kw unit,” Sorensen explained. “The purchase and installation was partially covered by a JEPP (Joint Emergency Preparedness) grant. This is a Federal Grant program that the DOS received in December 2008 with the grant picking up $10,000 of the $22,000 cost of the generator and related electrical components to be installed in the Community Hall.” 

Other news of what could be available by the time it’s needed, involves a type of field hospital facility which Sorensen has discussed with local doctors. No firm decision has been made as to where this facility would be located, although Ayre Manor is an early favourite as it is already equipped with emergency power generating capability.

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