District emergency preparedness under internal review

February 18, 2016

For immediate release February 18, 2016

District emergency preparedness under internal review

Langley, BC – School District #35 is undergoing an internal review of the degree to which the District is prepared to deal with emergencies, including earthquakes and other natural occurrences, as well as crisis situations. Drills for evacuations, lockdowns or crisis situations and preparedness are generally under the heading of Emergency Response Plans.

School Emergency Response Plans (ERP) are submitted from each school to the District yearly. Current forms and reporting procedures required a review and the recommendations suggest a consistent, simplified and easy to follow ERP be created at the District level for schools to complete. This process is expected to be implemented district-wide for September 2016.

School emergency supply checklists have been completed at each district site to evaluate supply needs. Once all checklists have been assessed, conversations with the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) will take place around how to fund the needs in schools. District leadership will establish an emergency supply budget and decisions around how the money will be distributed will take place prior to Spring Break as part of the District budget development process. DPAC has agreed that they will also set aside funds to help purchase supplies for schools.

“We’ve learned from recent drills and are already working to improve our Emergency Operations Centre set up at the School Board Office. Critical roles and responsibilities have been assigned and the next step is to ensure staff understand the workings of the EOC”, said Secretary Treasurer David Green. This work is expected to be completed by Spring 2016.  It is ‘Emergency Preparedness Week’ in BC May 1-7, 2016 and mandatory drills at that time will provide an opportunity to implement and refine new procedures.

Seismic early warning devices are being considered and a full report on potential implementation is expected in May of 2016. Earthquake hazard assessment checklists are being created this spring in cooperation with District leadership and Health and Safety Committees at all locations. Potential hazards could include unsecured vending machines, pianos with unlocked wheels or heavy items stored above shoulder height in exit paths. As areas of concern are identified, potential hazards can be mitigated. District staff will also undergo training in Rapid Damage Assessment of buildings after an earthquake or other natural disaster. Communication strategies to assist in District-to-parent community emergency or crisis messaging includes updates to school websites that allow a central posting system of alerts that is ‘mobile friendly’ to allow access from anywhere.


Contact: Ken Hoff, Communications Manager, School District No. 35: 604-534-7891