Let’s Get Ready! Emergency and Disaster Preparedness in Horseshoe Bay

Originally planned as a Zoom event, we were able to take advantage of COVID restrictions being lifted and hold “Let’s Get Ready” as in-person event on May 25th, 2022 at the Gleneagles Clubhouse. Jocelyn Hewson from North Shore Emergency Management (NSEM) presented to over 30 attendees on household emergency preparedness. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies were served, and there was a variety of handouts from NSEM, as well as a draw for an Emergency Kit donated by St. John Ambulance.

The event was promoted in a variety of ways, and the support of the West Vancouver Foundation was acknowledged in all cases. Promotional activities included:

-several postings on the Horseshoe Bay Neighbourhood FaceBook page

– through the Western Residents’ Association email list

-through the Block Watch program

-at Springfest West (May)

-at the WRA paper electronic recycling and paper shredding event (February)

– posters distributed to local businesses and posted on street poles

– through the Gleneagles School bulletin

Given the amount of promotion, we had hoped for 50 people or more, however, the 30 who did attend were very engaged and there were many positive comments. Interestingly, almost all attendees were older people, so perhaps a weeknight isn’t the best time for those with young families. Following the event, I posted on the HB Face Book page advising that handouts and order forms for emergency kits were still available. This resulted in an additional 10 people requesting information to date.

The next step will be to bring together volunteers and local organizations to plan for more comprehensive community preparedness in the fall,  including Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, police, fire, local businesses, community centre and school administration, BC Ferries, etc. Organizing this event was valuable preparation for such a community response, as activities included connecting with NSEM, District of West Vancouver, Gleneagles Community Centre staff, St. John Ambulance, Gleneagles School administration, and the Horseshoe Bay Business Association. 

Some of these connections have already resulted in positive relationship development and/or the initiation of valuable activities, for example:

– When I met the new director of the Gleneagles Community Centre, I asked about the emergency generator and supplies that I’d been told were in a large metal container outside the Centre. He was not aware of it, and so we went together to locate it and now that he knows about it, we can factor that equipment into community planning.

-Due to the nature of the event, the District of West Vancouver waived many of the fees associated with the venue rental.

– When I contacted NSEM about booking a presentation, I also asked whether they could recommend a supplier of kits. They said they were having difficulty finding a reliable supplier, likely due to COVID. However, coincidentally, when I was attending a Therapy Dog session at St. John Ambulance, I asked whether they supply kits, and that resulted in SJA providing  a discount to anyone attending the event who orders a kit, as well as donating a kit that we could award in a draw. It has also resulted in other opportunities to promote SJA as a supplier of emergency supplies, since they are a non-profit organization and profits from sales support their other charitable activities.

-A participant at the session is on the executive of the Horseshoe Bay Business Association, and now is keen to have NSEM meet with the Association.  Another participant is a member of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and following the event, we discussed RCMSAR’s involvement in the next steps.

I will continue to promote and distribute materials over the next month or two, and seek to identify volunteers interested in being involved in Let’s Get Ready – Part 2