Agenda Index City of Vancouver


TO: Vancouver City Council

FROM: City Manager

SUBJECT: Joint Emergency Liaison Committee Annual Report



In 1990 Council identified Emergency Preparedness as one of the City's seven corporate priorities and supported the continuation of an expanded work program in this area. Over the past ten years Council has demonstrated a high level of commitment to emergency preparedness.


The purpose of this report is to provide Council with the Annual Report of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee.


The City was instrumental in the establishment of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee, a committee formed to coordinate emergency planning between GVRD municipalities and the Province. It is supported by an emergency coordinator and is funded 50% by the Province and 50% by GVRD municipalities. Since it was formed, just over three years ago, the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee has made remarkable progress in tackling issues which require coordination across governments. The Provincial Auditor General in his 1997 report on Emergency Preparedness commented favourably on the work of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee. The Annual Report of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee summarizes the work that has been done.


The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee has done substantial work and formulated recommendations relative to the following issues:

Provision of Water: The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee has researched the issue of how to assure water supplies for drinking and firefighting across the Region, following a major earthquake. It has made recommendations around the need for the GVRD and member municipalities to conduct a water system vulnerability assessment and to have a coordinated water emergency response plan which includes standard protocols for isolating damaged parts of the distribution network.

Seismic Upgrade of Transportation Routes: Prior to the formation of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee, there had been no unified, rational plan for a network of routes across the Region to be used in the response to a major earthquake. The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee was able to coordinate the designation of Disaster Response Routes for this purpose. This initiative is the first of its type in the world and was developed in the absence of provincial, national or international standards. Recommendations relate to seismic assessment and gradual upgrade of the routes.

Structural Assessment of Key Facilities and Structures: A challenge facing municipal governments throughout the Region following an earthquake will be to organize structural and non-structural assessments of buildings and facilities by volunteer professional engineers, many of whom may come from outside the Region or the country. Recommendations include a program for the management of volunteer engineers, standardized colour-coded building tags, and greater research and training in the area of structural and non-structural design.

Dangerous Goods: The Joint Emergency Liaison set out to improve preparedness for a dangerous goods incident, which may involve many organizations and levels of government. It developed and has made recommendations for a common response protocol applicable tothese incidents which will ensure a cohesive, coordinated response.

Disaster Debris Removal: Debris generated by an earthquake can be equivalent to decades of normal waste production. The financial and environmental implications of inadequate debris management planning can be significant. The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee has researched the issues associated with disaster debris and is finalizing recommendations relative to disaster debris plans and public information programs.

Resource Management: The Joint Emergency Liaison Committee has researched the need to manage emergency equipment and resources so that critical supplies can be located and obtained following a disaster. Recommendations are currently being finalized to ensure this information is coordinated and accessible across municipalities and the Province.


The recommendations of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee will only be effective if they are reflected and implemented in the emergency plans of municipalities and Provincial Ministries. Many of the recommendations have little or no cost implications, yet they will significantly enhance the collective response capability in the Region. It is recommended that relevant response departments in the City review the sub-committee reports and detailed recommendations and report back to Council with recommended implementation plans. This work should be coordinated through the Director of Emergency Management.

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