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General News · 18th December 2020
Shaun Koopman
Cortes Islanders

I would like to thank the 3 dozen+ people who took time from their journey to provide input on the first draft of the updated Cortes Island Evacuation Plan. Your local input was greatly appreciated. I've compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions that were asked for everyone to enjoy.

What if someone is interested in providing their feedback on the plan but wasn't able to attend a session? Just let me know and I can email and/or mail you a copy of the draft plan and we can have a one on-one feedback session over phone, zoom, email, carrier pigeon, you name it. skoopmansrd.ca

What resources are available to start a Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Plan (NEPP)? Working with NEPP volunteers from the Quadra Island Emergency Program we have compiled the attached draft (still in development, but I'll happily share). Keep in mind you don't have to do everything in the attached document to have a successful NEPP, the document is just a list of suggested resources and practices. I will look into hosting a virtual NEPP public training session in 2021.

Are there household outdoor wildfire sprinkler protection systems? Yes. There are different models available and as a public servant I'm not recommending one over another, but the most common and affordable model that I'm aware of are WASP sprinklers.
https://waspwildfire.com/

Will there be a 'Coles Notes' version of the education plan? Yes. A pamphlet-style public education version focusing on what you should do in the event of an evacuation is being developed. If you would like to review the draft and provide your input please let me know.

How can neighbourhoods overcome notification/communication challenges caused by lack of cellphone reception? "What if I don't have cellphone reception and I'm out in my garden and do not hear Connect Rocket call my landline" I provided an example from a neighbourhood on north Quadra Island that have two certified amateur radio operators who monitor the local repeaters during wildfire season (Mt. Menzies and SRD-owned Heriot Ridge). The neighbourhood pooled together to purchase everyone a Family Radio Service (FSR) walkie talkie for everyone to keep around them. If the amateur radio operators hear an emergency message on the repeater then they immediately broadcast the message on the walkie talkie. They also use these walkie talkies to check in on each other during winter power outages and extreme weather events.

A higher quality outcome than what is describe above would be for all neighbourhood members to be ham radio operators because the cost of a low budget ham radio and high budget walkie talkie is roughly the same, but ham radio allows you to transmit on high power (greater range). The SRD plans to run a virtual ham radio course in the new year and if you are interested in registering please let me know.

Emergency messaging will also be broadcast on Cortes Community Radio 89.5FM. You can sign up to receive emergency notifications at https://strathconard.connectrocket.com/

What type of resources could BC Wildfire Service deploy from their bases in Quinsam, Powell River or from throughout the province?
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/about-bcws/wildfire-response/response/crews

If the fire involves both homes and the forest, who is in charge the Cortes Island Fire Department or BC Wildfire Service?
In the Incident Command System, a Unified Command is an authority structure in which the role of incident commander is shared by two or more individuals, each already having authority in a different responding agency. Unified command is one way to carry out command in which responding agencies and/or jurisdictions with responsibility for the incident share incident management. If a Unified Command is needed, Incident Commanders representing agencies or jurisdictions that share responsibility for the incident manage the response from a single Incident Command Post. The Regional District would activate an Emergency Operation Centre to provide strategic support to the Incident Command Post.