The Thompson Nicola Regional District covers an area of 45,000 square kilometres with a total population of 123,000 persons (2001 Statistics), with 10 electoral areas containing approximately 31,000 persons.
Under Provincial Legislation and Regional District Bylaws, the TNRD has implemented an Emergency Management Program for its 10 electoral areas. The program is under the guidance of TNRD Emergency Services Supervisor Ron Storie and some of its objectives include:
• Assess natural and technical hazards and risks that may be present in electoral areas.
• Where possible, carry out risk mitigation by way of avoidance, loss prevention or loss reduction.
• Plan for response through training, exercises and coordination with other agencies, municipalities and organizations.
• Plan for recovery from events that may occur in the electoral areas.
• Ensure preparedness by way of establishing a regional emergency operations centre capable of being staffed by trained personnel upon activation.
• Evaluate the program annually and update and review training programs as required.
Planing for response through training, exercises and coordination with other agencies, municipalities and organizations was all part of a TNRD hosted Emergency Operations Centre Tabletop Workshop held at the Ridge in Barriere on Wednesday, April 6.
Storie facilitated the workshop with area community participants including paramedics, police, fire, municipality workers, Interior Health, Forestry, Ministry of Environment, School District 73, Argo Road Maintenance, Emergency Social Services, Ministry of Transport and area TNRD elected officials.
“It’s all about preparedness,” said Storie, “People need to be self sufficient for three days or longer in the case of an emergency. We think this is really important.”
He noted that workshops and training exercises are structured around a community’s possible risks, noting that in this area rail, transportation, and fire come to the forefront.
“What I’m trying to do is develop a capacity within the municipality of Barriere that can take on some of the key rolls in an emergency,” said Storie, “The TNRD can help because we have more staff, but it is better to build these relationships with each other now. The main players here are a huge resource to me, as I will be to them.”
Storie noted he will return to the community in the fall for a follow-up workshop. “There is a structure already in place that will actually take them through an emergency,” said Storie, “You have a great fire department here, and all the agencies work well together.”