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					                                               OESS E-Letter # 40 May 2011

OESS, PO Box 1390, 132 East Jensen Ave., Parksville. BC V9P2H3

250-954-3411 e-mail
Regular meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 10 a.m


To open the week’s activities in Oceanside the residents of Lighthouse Country turned out,
if not in multitudes at least in satisfactory numbers, to call the open house at the Bowser
Legion ESS Reception Centre a great success. There were booths by: BC Forest Services,
Oceanside Emergency Communications Team, Red Cross, Pet Care, Arrowsmith Search
and Rescue, RDN Emergency Preparedness, Oceanside ESS, Dashwood Fire Dept and
representatives of the Bowser Legion and the RDN Emergency Program, and a special
appearance of the Arrowsmith Bag Pipers.

(a)                                 (b)                             (c)

Visitors seek emergency preparedness advice; (b) the Bowser Legion RC ready for inspection;        (c) 
visitors checking out the displays. 
(d)                                                    (e)                            

(d)Jan,Kay and Barry organised the Bowser Reception Centre (e) Members of the
Emergency Communications Team pose with Jani, Bob and Oceanside Star reporter
Pamela Suzanne Smyth

This open house included an earthquake preparedness presentation, a neighbourhood
emergency preparedness workshop, emergency communications demonstrations by the
EMCOMS group of the Mid-Island Radio Association as well as displays by local groups
involved emergency response. The Bowser Legion was set up as an RDN Emergency
Reception Centre, to give residents an idea of how it would function during a local or
regional emergency.

Other National Emergency Preparedness Week events in Oceanside included a two-day
Community Emergency Preparedness Forum organized by the Town of Qualicum Beach on May 4
and 5, where ESSD Bob Dendoff was a panel member with other emergency and first responder groups. Kay
presented a booth of ESS information; two earthquake information sessions hosted by the City of
Parksville on May 4, and an emergency preparedness fair on Gabriola Island May 7, organized by
Gabriola Island Emergency Social Services.

Back in the Lighthouse area again at the local pancake breakfast Bob joined up with Lisa
who presented the RDN Planning Strategy providing information on personal, family
emergency preparedness and an outline of the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness
Program (NEPP). Bob said he answered several enquiries about the NEPP and that there
is growing interest in it throughout the Oceanside area.

Flooding in Houston, BC

Flooding and rising rivers in northern BC alerted the ESS Mobile Support Team. Bob
Dendoff reported to Houston BC where preparations for a possible evacuation were put
into place. Bob sent us a message that Keith flood waters receded after a couple of days
but the town was not out of danger and the MST will continue to assist the residents in
planning a reception centre and group lodging.



Several OESS members attended the recent Vancouver Island Emergency Preparedness Conference 
and will report on the sessions they attended. The first contribution is from Barry: 

Plenary #2‐ Current Disasters and What We Learn from Them – Rob Johns and Brock Henson 

       The presenters had the opportunity to be in Christchurch, New Zealand after both the 
        September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes and they shared their experiences from both 
       Christchurch is very much of interest since it is of a similar size and similar construction to 
        greater Victoria. 
       Victoria has a high probability of having a damaging earthquake (Christchurch was not 
        considered to be in a high risk area). 
       The September quake occurred at 4:35 am, so most people were in bed and few were in the 
        downtown core. However, the February quake occurred at 12:50 pm, so a lot of people were 
        in the down town core. 
       Residences are wood‐frame construction, so the homes stood up quite well although a lot of 
        chimneys were compromised in the February quake. This was bad given the on‐coming winter 
        season. In the downtown core, a lot of older buildings were damaged because of brick or 
        other materials that do not hold up in earthquakes. Many buildings, including heritage 
        structures have been condemned in the downtown. Even buildings that are safe in the 
        downtown core cannot be occupied because of neighbouring buildings that are condemned. 
        Thus, the whole downtown area of Christchurch remains cordoned off with military 
        checkpoints at all access points. 
       Christchurch continues to get many significant aftershocks and all new insurance policies have 
        been frozen while the risk is being reassessed. Thus, there are no home sales, which is a major 
        inconvenience on top of the loss of business in the whole downtown area. 
       Christchurch has no natural gas service, so there were no fires to deal with; but Victoria does 
        have natural gas service, so fires are expected. 
       Short‐term housing is a big concern for us and long‐term housing is uncertain, especially if 
        sewage systems are damaged since repairing the sewage system can take a long time. In some 
        cases, houses were moved off foundations and some of these homes were condemned. This 
        raises the questions: Do you or even can you rebuild? Will utilities be restored to the area? 
        Where would you relocate to? 
       Brick buildings are a big problem – they lose their façade or worse and falling bricks can cause 
        other damage. 
       In Christchurch, when the central business district was declared a no‐go zone, 2300 vehicles 
        were stranded in that area and it presented a major challenge to get those vehicles out of the 
       Building assessment is a massive undertaking and it needs to be a first‐responder function so 
        as many people as possible can get back into their own homes. Unfortunately, the many 
        aftershocks can create the need to reassess buildings. 
       The BC building code currently has much lower requirements on the “g” forces than the “g” 
        forces that were measured in the February quake in Christchurch. The current code specifies 
        only 0.7 g versus 2.2 g that Christchurch experienced. 
          When Christchurch residents were told they would be put up in group lodgings, most quickly 
           found other accommodations on their own. However, if we do need to use group lodging, we 
           must think a lot bigger in numbers of people than we may have been planning for. 

Finally a reminder that Nanaimo ESS is hosting a training session RESOURCE ACQUISTION COURSE 

You can contact Bruce directly. 

For lots of information on activities and training go to the Provincial Emergency Program 
website at
This newsletter is entered on the RDN website each month and on the City of 
Parksville website  Comments and contributions to the E‐Letter are 
welcomed and can be sent to Keith at