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The City's preparing… are you?

While VanSlam is a practice exercise, there is a one in four chance that a major earthquake will hit British Columbia in the next 50 years, and how prepared you are will make a significant difference to your chance of survival.

Chief Darrell Reid of Vancouver Fire Rescue

May 6 2019 –

This Friday get ready to drop, cover, and hold on as the City of Vancouver is set to face a major earthquake – but fear not, it's all in the name of safety.

VanSlam: emergency exercise

As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, the City will be staging VanSlam, an emergency exercise which will see more than 600 staff and volunteers respond to a fictitious earthquake.

The exercise, which will include recreation centre evacuations, building and infrastructure inspections, and search and rescue operations, will offer the City the opportunity to test their emergency response plans across several major departments.

Speaking about VanSlam, Chief Darrell Reid of Vancouver Fire Rescue, said: "Exercises such as this are a vital part of ensuring the City is ready to respond to major emergencies as they allow us to thoroughly assess the strength of our plans and identify areas where we need to focus on further development.

"Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. While VanSlam is a practice exercise, there is a one in four chance that a major earthquake will hit British Columbia in the next 50 years, and how prepared you are will make a significant difference to your chance of survival", he added.

Steps to ensure you're prepared

Despite the City having a robust emergency response plan, everyone has a part to play in an emergency and residents should be prepared to survive on their own for a prolonged period of time if a disaster strikes, as critical services will be affected.

Several key steps that residents can take to ensure that they are prepared for an emergency include:

  • Attending a free neighbourhood preparedness workshop
  • Making an emergency plan so that you can react quickly
  • Understanding the risks, both the general ones and those specific to your home and neighbourhood
  • Designating a meeting place where you can meet loved ones if an emergency strikes
  • Ensuring you have what you need to get by after an emergency, including food, clothing, and prescription medicines
  • Getting to know your neighbours and the skills they have that might help in an emergency

Neighbourhood resilience walks

This coming weekend, the City and Neighbour Lab are hosting two neighbourhood resilience walks to help people understand the potential impacts of an earthquake on specific areas, find out about community strengths and opportunities, and discuss neighbourhood preparedness initiatives.

Find out more about how you can prepare for a major emergency