A refreshed and simplified version of the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program aims to keep communities better prepared.
Neighbourhood teams design the plans to be basic or detailed depending on the community, according to the CVRD. They say simple maps of your neighbourhood, list of residents and contact information can make a big difference when a disaster strikes.
Emergency planning coordinator Cari McIntyre says the new system combines digital tools to make it easier to use.
“It was pretty rigid, and now it’s a lot easier to work with, simplified, it’s digital tools that people can fill in the blanks,” said McIntyre.
However, it is not an all online system in case of a loss of power.
“We have to think too sometimes in emergencies the lights go out, it’s better to sometimes have these things on paper so that you have something to refer to,” she said.
McIntyre adds these sorts of plans help bring communities closer together at a more convenient time.
“You really don’t want to get to know your neighbours at 3 a.m.,” said McIntyre. “You’d rather get to know them in a nice calm setting where you can find out what their needs are so that you can support each other if there’s an event that happens in your neighbourhood.”
McIntyre adds the aim is to make more self-reliant communities that can handle disasters as they come.
“NEPP is community-driven and based on recent heat weather events, neighbours checking on neighbours can save lives while reducing call loads to our emergency responders,” added McIntyre.
The CVRD says neighbourhoods are also encouraged to use the NEPP to create other neighbourhood-driven initiatives, like FireSmart, to reduce the risk of other disasters.
More information about the NEPP guide can be found on the CVRD website.