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Vancouver among top emergency-prepared cities in Canada: fire captain

(Bruce Claggett, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We may not get any hurricanes, but Vancouver is no stranger to the possibility of natural disasters.

So how do we stack up to other cities around the country or continent, amid mass flooding in Southern Texas?

“I think we have to be one of the most prepared cities in Canada, if not North America,” says Captain Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

He explains it’s not just because of local resources like our very own Canada Task Force-1, but because of overall planning.

“The city as a whole has gone to great lengths to implement planning, to forecast what might happen here,” says Gormick. “There’s numerous layers of resilience within the city, both building our infrastructure and our population to be prepared and to best survive.”

He says Vancouver isn’t a city that’s very prone to floods, unless something like a tsunami were to raise sea levels. But, Gormick claims Vancouver is equipped to deal with other types of emergencies, like weather-related and obviously seismic-related events.

Not only does the city have forecasting down, Gormick says Vancouver is also well prepared terms of disaster response.

In his view, our specialized teams, like our Heavy Urban Search and Rescue task force, as well as plans –which are based on previous disasters in other parts of the world– help us stay on top.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services recently sent two of its members to Southern Texas, to learn from ground crews working in Hurricane Harvey-impacted areas.

Gormick says those members will be able to bring back what they’ve learned from command operations there, to better help local teams grown.