Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Success of Two Day maritime emergency preparation exercise hailed by Jennifer Rice

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice outlined the background to a major
maritime exercise in waters near Victoria last month

(photo courtesy Canadian Coast Guard)

North Coast MLA Jennifer had opportunity on Tuesday to bring the Legislature up to date on a recent Emergency Preparation exercise that took place in the Salish Sea/Gerogia Strait area of the Pacific Coast.

Ms. Rice, in her capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparation recounted the work of a wide group of participants in the full scale maritime exercise.

Mayday, mayday, mayday — words we hope to never hear out on the waters of the B.C. coast. A ferry on fire, mass casualties, fatalities, environmental spills and impacts to waterways — other than a real-life event, an exercise practising what to do in this scenario offers the highest degree of realism to test our preparedness capabilities.

Exercise Salish Sea provided exactly this test opportunity. Conducted two weeks ago, this full-scale exercise, which included the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, B.C. Ferries, emergency management B.C. and other ministries, provided an opportunity to test our operational readiness to respond to a major maritime disaster. 

There were nearly 500 participants at this two-day exercise, including volunteer role players and First Nations from coastal communities. EMBC worked extensively with the Canadian Coast Guard, establishing new lines of communication and coordination. B.C. emergency health services used this as one of its most comprehensive mass casualty exercises in recent years.  The Vancouver Island Health Authority was able to exercise a number of code-orange training events.

Ms. Rice provided her thanks to all of those who participated in the two day long event, noting that the review of the exercise will provide for a more enhanced level of preparedness should a real maritime exercise occur.

Her comments to the Legislature can be explored further here, starting at just before the 10:20 AM point

The statement can also be reviewed from the video posting on the MLA's Facebook page.

Exercise Salish Sea took place over the two days of October 25 and 26, a quick snap shot of the partners and background to the exercise can be found here.

BC Ferries made for the centrepiece of a maritime emergency exercise
that took place near Victoria in late October

(Photo from the Canadian Coast Guard)

Some news reviews of the event can be examined below:

'Exercise Salish Sea': Canadian Coast Guard's largest disaster drill
Mock disaster response exercise underway in B.C. waters
Mock Marine disaster exercise in the Salish Sea
Canada wraps up multi-agency marine incident exercise
Canadian Coast Guard Holds Major Maritime incident Exercise in British Columbia

For more items related to Ms. Rice's work at the Legislature see our archive page here.

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