Letter: Emergency Reception Centre

Tuesday, May 9 2017

I have been hearing a number of rumours and misconceptions on what an emergency reception centre is and how they are established. If there is a local emergency, the ESS coordinator for Gabriola can open the reception centre. The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) currently has one at the Rollo Centre. The centre will provide information on the emergency, assist in evaluating your needs, including housing needs (send you to a hotel), and register people so that they can be located by relatives or friends. We may even be able to make you a cup of tea or coffee. What we do not do is house people overnight or feed them. We have no stockpile of blankets, cots, pillows, food, cooking equipment, dishes, medical supplies or the people to look after these items.

How and why an emergency reception centre is established is the responsibility of the RDN Emergency Service Department. RDN staff conduct a readiness and suitably assessment to determine the need and location of a centre. Recently, the community hall and the United Church are being assessed for use. RDN staff will present a report to the RDN Emergency Management Committee in June, 2017. Once the report is presented and the committee has had time to digest the report then there will be a recommendation to the RDN board. The RDN board has the final approval on where the reception centre will be located and when the emergency generator will be installed.

If there is a region-wide disaster, then any help would come from the provincial government. Emergency Management is informing residents to be prepared for 72 hours.

~ Howard Houle, Director, Regional District of Nanaimo, Electoral Area B