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Emergency Preparedness Tradeshow to again help Campbell Riverites prepare for the worst

Vendors, along with various educational opportunities, take over Thunderbird Hall Oct. 18
Thunderbird Hall will once again be filled with various booths and stations for the public to learn more about emergency preparedness as the Strathcona Regional District hosts its annual tradeshow Oct. 18. The event is free and open to the public. Mirror File Photo by Mike Davies

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is hosting its 3rd annual Disaster Preparedness Tradeshow on Friday Oct. 18 at the Thunderbird Hall.

The tradeshow kicks off the 10th annual Vancouver Island Regional ESS Leadership Workshop, which Campbell River is also hosting again this year.

The theme of this year’s conference, which supports and educates those in various Emergency Support Service (ESS) capacities, according to North Island Emergency Preparedness chair Rick Wall, is “ESS Roles in Preparing for Mass Evactuations: Issues and Obligations for Affected and Host Communities.”

“This topic is timely, considering the tsunami warning that was issued by the province (this past March) and Victoria’s Tsunami Preparedness Week (this past April),” Wall says. “It is particularly relevant to Campbell River as we would likely fulfill the role of host community for any large scale evacuation in our area.”

With speakers coming from Kamloops – which served and serves as a main host communities during widfire seasons in the interior – as well as the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations – villages evacuated due to flooding in Mount Waddington Regional District – Wall says he expects some “lively discussions.”

While the ESS conference is for registered participants only, the tradeshow on the Friday is free to the public and a fun way for families to learn how to be more prepared for a disaster.

“We all hope that disasters don’t occur but being prepared for any disaster, will minimize the impact to families and our Region,” according to Michele Babchuk, chair of the Strathcona Regional District. “There will be lots of opportunities to ask questions and connect with a variety of different organizations involved in disaster preparedness and response such as Campbell River Emergency Support Services, SuavAir, Cortes Community Radio, and Western Canada Marine Spill Response.”

Packet leader for the SRD Emergency Communications Team, Matthew Fox, says he’ll be there to help people learn about communicating during a mass emergency, when cell phones and computers might not work. In fact, anyone who ranges further afield during their explorations of our coast might want to go talk to him.

“If you enjoy exploring beyond the range of cellphone reception then you will want to visit the Emergency Communications booth,” Fox says.

And, of course, you can stock up on your emergency preparedness supplies, as well, or start your Christmas shopping if you haven’t yet, says SRD Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman.

“What better way to tell your friends and family you care about them than by giving them the gift of preparedness,” Koopman says.

In addition to vendors and networking, this year’s Disaster Preparedness Tradeshow will also feature four free special educational sessions to help them improve in things like establishing your Neighbourhood Emergency Program (from 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.), Emergency Drone Operations (from 4 to 4:30), pet first aid (from 4:45 to 5:30) as well as how to operate a fire extinguisher (from 5:45 to 6:15).

The public is invited to drop by tradeshow anytime between 2:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18th at the Thunderbird Hall, 1420 Wewaikum Road.

For more information on how to be better prepared for an emergency, head over to