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We are targeting about 150 households in the 700-800 block of East 37th, 38th and 39th Avenues with the vision of empowering residents and increasing our preparedness in the event of a disaster (such as an earthquake). This is a citizen-led initiative that is intended to go beyond “personal preparedness” to build collaborative “neighbourhood preparedness” at the grassroots level, so that neighbours can support one-another in the likely event that “official” help does not arrive for a few days or more.
We are forming a local Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT), made up of residents that will undergo formal disaster response training through the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services. This will involve first aid training, fire extinguisher use, triage, and more. On Aug 22 the team will practice their classroom skills during a hands-on simulated scenario at the Vancouver Fire and Rescue training centre, with toppled buildings, fires, and made-up actors giving it a real feel!
This will be valuable practice for our local neighbourhood earthquake response drill during October’s The Great BC Shake Out (www. shakeoutbc.ca). After all, businesses and organizations practice their emergency response ever year – so should neighbourhoods not do the same?