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Top ups coming for emergency containers in qathet region

Powell River General Hospital and qathet Regional District to receive supplies, funding
ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE: Powell River General Hospital has received more supplies for its 20-foot sea-can container that provides an emergency kit in case of dire circumstances. qathet Regional District has also received supplies from the province, to help in case of an emergency.

qathet region has been the beneficiary of emergency equipment appropriations to help keep people safe during emergencies.

The provincial health services authority is sending more emergency supplies for its 20-foot sea-can container at Powell River General Hospital, and the province is providing $25,000 to qathet Regional District for a storage container with emergency supplies and equipment.

Scott Blessin, manager, Health Emergency Management BC, said the containers have items such as additional hospital beds, sleeping cots, blankets, emergency food and water supplies, as well as other medical items. The container at the hospital is one of five in the province.

Blessin said the first two were put into Bella Coola and Bella Bella, both of which are at tsunami risk, and then the health authority looked at other communities that are away and isolated from supply chains, such as the qathet region.

“You might liken the sea-can to the emergency preparedness kit people might have at home,” said Blessin. “So, for example, with the extra beds, if we had an influx of patients and needed those beds, we could pull them in, but additionally, if we had staff members who couldn’t get home, or we needed to bring in staff members from elsewhere, we can utilize these beds to provide comfort and care.

“A lot of material in the containers is general supplies you would expect to see in a lot of emergency preparedness kits. We have masks, food and water, gowns and various other elements we would need to have for basic levels of patient care.”

Blessin said the need for having emergency supplies was seen last year, when extreme weather events cut off Chilliwack General and Fraser Canyon hospitals from key supply chain routes.

“We recognize we’re essential infrastructure and we want to ensure we have supplies that can support not just our basic care, but also, the needs of the community as well,” said Blessin. “There is recognition that having these supplies in key areas will make a difference in our capacity and the speed with which we are able to respond. Hopefully, it won’t be needed anytime soon.”

As for the regional district funding, Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons stated in a media release that new funding for emergency support services (ESS) will help keep people safe in the event of an emergency. More than 50 first nations and local governments will receive a share of more than $1.9 million toward local emergency preparedness.  

“Recent climate-related events have highlighted the importance of preparing for future emergencies,” stated Simons. “These investments are part of our ongoing work to modernize and strengthen emergency support services in communities across the province.”

The regional district will receive $25,000 for a storage container with emergency supplies and equipment, according to the release.

This funding will support communities to build local capacity now to provide ESS when a disaster strikes. Governments will use funding for volunteer recruitment, retention and training, and the purchase of equipment.