Comox Valley School Board urged to be prepared for emergencies

Earthquake. Fire. Bomb threat. Medical emergency.

These are some of the things School District 71 must be ready for.

Earthquake. Fire. Bomb threat. Medical emergency.

These are just a few of the things that the Comox Valley School District’s district principal of health and safety Paul Berry says the district must be prepared for, physically and operationally.

Berry outlined a comprehensive emergency preparedness program called Hour Zero during January’s board meeting, when he also said the district needs to beef up its emergency preparedness plans.

During Tuesday’s meeting trustees showed they took his presentation seriously as they approved allocating $150,000 for the program from the 2012/13 operating budget.

“Paul Berry has done an excellent job in doing work in the school district looking at our emergency preparedness in all our schools, and certainly some schools are well-prepared, where other schools aren’t prepared,” said trustee Rick Grinham. “So, this makes an equal playing field across our school district and ensures that our whole school district has emergency preparedness kits that they’re going to need in case of emergency. This, to me, is critical.”

Grinham, who is the finance committee chair, noted the 2012/13 budget is looking like it will be about $300,000 in the black this year — though he still cautions budgets are tight in general and the district must be prudent due to costs in the years ahead.

According to Barry’s emergency preparedness budget submission, protocols have been developed over the past two years to support the school district in the event of a wide variety of natural and man-made crises, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Crises could include anything from weather closures and power outages, to hostile individuals, threats, abductions, missing students and school lockdowns. Berry’s submission also noted only about half of school district sites have the physical resources on-site to respond to a large-scale disaster.

The Hour Zero program provides common language, site-based resources, inventories, skill management, training, communications, emergency responder access and district level oversight.

About $90,000 will be allocated to Hour Zero implementation and training, but Barry noted this cost could come down a bit as the district will use its own expertise as much as possible for training purposes.

Other costs include the Hour Zero licence fee, annual support and licence fee, school site resourcing (72-hour emergency resources) and in-service training for the entire district, which includes teaching staff common language used by other emergency response groups such as police and firefighters to improve communication.

Trustees also approved allocating $50,000 from the 2014/15 operating budget and $40,000 from the 2015/16 operating budget for ongoing support of the emergency preparedness plan.

Over the three years of spending, about 75,000 would be spent stocking resources at school sites.

Just Posted

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Comox Legion celebrates Robbie Burns day

The Comox Valley Pipe Band Society is celebrating Robbie Burns on Jan.… Continue reading

VIDEO: École Puntledge Park Elementary celebrates winter solstice

The event was a part of the school’s Indigenous education curriculum

Valley company reaching out to women near and far

Three Comox Valley business women know firsthand what good menstrual products can… Continue reading

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Ex-Mountie investigating ‘Surrey six’ murders pleads guilty to obstruction

Derek Brassington entered his plea in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read