Provincial emergency exercise program

Emergency Management B.C. (EMBC) is the lead agency for the development and coordination of provincial-level exercises. An exercise is an emergency scenario where participants carry out actions and responsibilities that would be expected of them in a real emergency. 

The goal of a provincial training exercise is for the B.C. Government and its partners to practice their response to an emergency. This includes First Nations, local, provincial, and federal agencies. The next exercise will be Coastal Response in 2022.


Coastal Response 2022

Earthquakes are common in British Columbia. While most are too small to be felt, earthquakes strong enough to cause significant damage can occur. The most at-risk areas for earthquakes are along the west coast, where the threat of a tsunami may follow.

Exercise Coastal Response 2022 focusses on an earthquake disaster scenario that will result in damage to the Lower Mainland. The goal of this response will be to test the province’s coordinated response to an earthquake close to the city centre.

The objectives for Exercise Coastal Response 2022 are to:

  • Practice response logistics and elements of supply chain management
  • Identify, develop, and test succession plans and government continuity at all levels
  • Conduct damage assessments, including a review of critical infrastructure
  • Test and practice decision making for senior leaders
  • Conduct joint communications and engagement with a focus on consistency of public information
  • Practice mass-care response

The exercise will follow guidelines from the B.C. Earthquake Immediate Response Plan (PDF, 4 MB) and will include workshops, presentations, emergency operations centre training, and a full-scale earthquake response.

For more information on how to get involved with Coastal Response 2022, contact Exercise Specialist Rob Dodds at rob.dodds@gov.bc.ca.


Provincial emergency exercise events

Coastal Response exercises and events in British Columbia can be found below:

 

February 2022: Exercise Coastal Response (Emergency Operations Centre Exercise)

Lead agency

  • Emergency Management BC

Objectives and scope

  • Consequence Management in response to earthquake/seismic event affecting Southern Vancouver Island and the lower mainland

Aim

  • To practice an integrated whole of government and partners response to a catastrophic B.C. earthquake event.

Objectives

  • Practice and validate provincial logistics concept of support, with a focus on medical supply and fuel chain management
  • Opportunity to develop/practice mass-care response
  • Identify, develop and test Government/Business Continuity and Succession planning at all levels
  • Conduct Damage Assessment, including a review of critical infrastructure
  • Conduct Joint Communications and Engagement, with a focus on consistency of public information

Outcomes

  • The outcomes from the exercise will be used to improve and develop the expertise and abilities of the exercise participants when responding to seasonal, as well as catastrophic events. Through participating in this training event, all organizations will be better prepared to:
    • All levels of government, utilities and out of province partners
    • 1700 Participants, Moderators and Recorders
    • Fully articulate their agency’s roles, responsibilities and response protocols with other agency participants
    • Review and implement interaction of the different agency’s response actions
    • Identify any potential conflicting response actions or any gaps in response actions

Contact

  • For more information on how to get involved with Coastal Response 2022, contact Exercise Specialist Rob Dodds at rob.dodds@gov.bc.ca.
 

February 2021: Exercise Coastal Response (Tabletop Exercise)

Lead agency

  • Emergency Management BC

Objectives and scope

  • Improved awareness of plans, concepts and processes including the B.C. Earthquake Immediate Response Plan (IRP).
  • Identification of:
    • gaps in response plans and areas of intersection that need to be addressed with regards to critical infrastructure (CI) and logistics
    • potential solutions for CI and logistics where possible - where not possible, outline the work required to develop effective solutions
    • aspects for CI and logistics that could become training objectives related to sustained operations to be addressed in the emergency operations centre exercise (EOCX) portion
    • potential opportunities to bring aspects of business continuity, mass care and joint communications to support CI and logistic considerations

Aim

  • To validate the BC Earthquake Response Plan and test the plan’s integration with other local, provincial and federal response plans.
  • To use the outcomes from the exercise to improve and develop the expertise and abilities of the exercise participants prior to Ex Coastal Response.

Objectives

  • To evaluate the BC Earthquake Response Plan in relation to how agencies will respond;
  • For participants to explain their agency’s roles, responsibilities and response protocols to other agency participants;
  • For participants to discuss possible interaction of the different agencies response actions;
  • To identify any potential conflicting response actions or any gaps in response actions;

Participation

  • All levels of government, utilities and out of province partners
  • 240 Participants, Moderators and Recorder

Contact

  • For more information on how to get involved with Coastal Response 2022, contact Exercise Specialist Rob Dodds at rob.dodds@gov.bc.ca.
 

February 2020: Exercise Coastal Response (Tabletop Discussion Exercise)

Lead agency

  • Emergency Management BC

Scope

  • Consequence Management in response to an earthquake event affecting Southern Vancouver Island and the lower mainland. This is a building block to November, 2021 earthquake exercise Coastal Response.

Goal

  • To validate the B.C. Earthquake Response Plan and test the plan’s integration with other local, provincial and federal response plans.
  • To use the outcomes from the exercise to improve and develop the expertise and abilities of the exercise participants prior to Exercise Coastal Response.

Objectives

  • To evaluate the BC Earthquake Response Plan in relation to how agencies will respond;
  • For participants to explain their agency’s roles, responsibilities and response protocols to other agency participants;
  • For participants to discuss possible interaction of the different agencies response actions;
  • To identify any potential conflicting response actions or any gaps in response actions;

Participation

  • All levels of government, utilities and out of province partners
  • 170 Participants, Moderators and Recorders

Contact

  • For more information on how to get involved with Coastal Response 2022, contact Exercise Specialist Rob Dodds at rob.dodds@gov.bc.ca.

 


Past exercises

On October 25 and 26, 2017, Exercise Salish Sea took place in the waters off Saltspring Island, British Columbia‎.

What was the scenario?

Image of an exercise siteThe scenario for the October 25th exercise found a fire on board the BC Ferry M/V Coastal Renaissance – it was of such severity that an evacuation of all passengers was required.  The Search and Rescue phase of the exercise involved 97 live actors who evacuated from the ferry via the evacuation slide system; they were then transported ashore by marine resources and triaged ashore by Emergency Health Services.  An additional 57 live actors on the island were given makeup to simulate the injuries they may have suffered, adding realism for those ashore providing initial medical care. 

On October 26 the simulation continued, with CCGS Bartlett playing the part of the ferry casualty, with on-water training and boom deployment, and the activation of an Incident Command Post with almost 100 participants from multiple federal, provincial and non-government agencies, as well as BC Ferries and other industry representatives performing key roles.  This second phase is what made this exercise unique, in that this was the first time that an exercise tested not only the search and rescue phase of the response to such an event, but also the environmental response phase, while engaging public and private industry reps under one Unified Command. 

What was the purpose of this exercise?

The objective of the largest ever exercise in the Canadian Pacific was twofold:  to validate and modernize the Pacific Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Major Marine Disaster plan; and to demonstrate the Maritime Safety and Environmental response system to First Nations and local governments as an introduction to many of the initiatives and potential partnerships that will emerge from the Ocean Protection Plan (OPP). The 2-day event ‎tested and promoted interoperability between the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), Department of National Defence, the Province of British Columbia and many local B.C. communities. The close relationships built during the planning the exercise resulted in an exercise that enhanced the effectiveness of a whole of government response to a major maritime disaster.  

Exercise Coastal Response was held on June 7-10, 2016, in the Port Alberni region. Read the Initial Findings from Exercise Coastal Response report (PDF) for more information.

What was the scenario?

Image of a child being reunited with his mother after being rescuedIt was B.C.'s first ever full-scale earthquake and tsunami response exercise. Exercise Coastal Response 2016 was based on a magnitude 9.0 earthquake resulting from a rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of southwestern B.C. In this exercise scenario, strong shaking lasting several minutes would occur in areas of Greater Vancouver, Greater Victoria and central Vancouver Island, causing some destruction in the major urban centres and widespread damage in the Port Alberni valley. The earthquake would also generate a tsunami on the west coast of Vancouver Island minutes after the initial shock.

What was the purpose of this exercise?

A strong and effective provincial response to a catastrophic earthquake hinges on B.C.’s ability to coordinate with internal and external agencies at all levels. The purpose of Exercise Coastal Response 2016 was for Emergency Management BC to bring together some key stakeholder groups – multiple levels of government, various jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S., and a number of provincial ministries, First Nations, Crown corporations and first responders – in a coordinated and integrated way to activate the B.C. Earthquake Immediate Response Plan (PDF). The goal was to exercise elements of this plan and strengthen relationships among and across partners and stakeholders to enhance operational coordination.