NANAIMO — The Canadian Red Cross expects emergency response infrastructure on Vancouver Island will be bolstered sometime next year.
Derrick Harvey, a Vancouver Island based emergency response team leader with the Red Cross, says fundraising efforts are well underway to establish a Mobile Command Centre trailer unit on the island. The unit will carry supplies, including cots for 200 people.
“In situations like earthquakes when they come suddenly and we have absolutely no idea what to predict, if the infrastructure is still in place, we will have the ability to move the supplies to where we need it,” said Harvey.
He says Mobile Command Centres work extremely will in situations where somewhat more predictable natural disasters occur, such as forest fires and floods. He points to an example in the summer of 2015 where a forest fire threatened a small north island community.
“Almost more or less engulfed Port Hardy. Had we had one of these (Mobile Command Centres) on the island at the time, we would have been able to pre-position it close to Port Hardy or actually in Port Hardy,” said Harvey. “So it gives us that edge, it's one more step.”
Harvey says having a new trailer unit on Vancouver Island would allow cots, 400 blankets, administration supplies and other important valuables to serve displaced people for about one month.
“There's a whole bunch of stuff in there...boxes and boxes of industrial work gloves, brooms and mops to keep the shelter clean.”
Harvey says a new Mobile Command Centre is currently being put together to serve Prince George, in addition to units already established in Burnaby and Kelowna.
He hopes Vancouver Island will have a unit of its own, valued in the $130,000 range, by sometime next year.