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Introducing the Adaptation Inspiration Podcast for RbD’s Inspiring Climate Action Project: BC Professionals Adaptation Network

Disaster Emergency Management Student Awarded CIHR MA Grant

Cari McIntyre, a graduate student in Royal Roads University’s Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management was just awarded a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship Masters (CGS-M) award. Cari will be working with supervisor, Dr. Robin Cox, and the ResilienceByDesign Research Lab to examine how civil society organizations and networks might foster collaborative partnerships to support disaster risk reduction (DRR) and enhance disaster resilience. Cari’s research will examine the linkages between the social determinants of health (e.g., housing, food security, access to resources and services) and the determinants of disaster resilience, vulnerability, and risk by working with a community-based health network in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The project is grounded in a premise that the collective voices of community networks present an opportunity to overcome what has been identified as a lack of citizen engagement and investments in disaster risk reduction.
 
Cari will be working with a community-based health network in the Comox Valley to explore the question: How can a community-based health network influence local-level DRR? The goals of her research are to: (a) use social network analysis (SNA) to measure and convey the strengths, gaps, and opportunities inhered in an existing community network; (b) explore how and in what ways the network’s collaborative capacity and processes can contribute to enhancing community resilience; and (c) support opportunities for knowledge transmission
through workshops designed by the research team to introduce network partners and other stakeholders (e.g. emergency managers, community officials) to the linkages between social determinants of health and disaster risk reduction.
 
Cari’s research is uniquely positioned to build awareness of the connections between underlying vulnerabilities related to the social determinants of health and the drivers of disaster risk and community resilience. Using participatory action research and social network analysis methods, Cari hopes to further understand and convey how place-based vulnerability and resilience data might generate new knowledge to support the network by engaging community partners and stakeholders in the collaborative generation of ideas for local, strengths-based initiatives designed to address current and future capacity gaps and vulnerabilities, while simultaneously contributing to improved health and disaster outcomes.

Dr. Robin Cox talks Disaster Preparedness on CHEK News

On January 23nd, 2017, many Southern Vancouver Island residents were awoken to a Tsunami warning at 3:00am following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska. However, many residents slept through the alert, if they were alerted at all. Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD Lab spoke with CHEK news about the importance of preparedness in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, both at the individual and policy level.

In interviews, Dr. Cox raised the point that while the systems that are in place work, we need to do more to be prepared for these types of events. She suggests having an emergency kit at home  but to also consider having one in your vehicle or at work as well. Beyond this, Dr. Cox reminds us that being prepared “includes having emergency kits, having a plan, knowing where to evacuate to, and knowing what sort of risk areas [you’re] in.”

While sirens were used to alert residents in different parts of Vancouver Island, adding more sirens to risk areas may be a beneficial step forward following this tsunami scare. As Dr. Cox explains, “We have many examples in other parts of the province and in the world where sirens are used really effectively to warn people. They have to be accompanied by education and awareness campaigns so people understand what the sirens are for and what to do in response to them.”

Dr. Cox also highlights that the fear of panic around implementing sirens or alert systems actually falls into a myth as to how people typically respond to disaster. As she explains, “We do know that in disasters, most people do not panic, there’s not this movie version of mass panic when a disaster happens. People tend to help each other, they tend to listen to orders and information when they have it.” Therefore, including information or education awareness with the implementation of siren and alert systems could be a positive step forward on Vancouver Island, following this tsunami scare.

You can see the full versions of Dr. Robin Cox’s interviews by clicking the following links;

https://www.cheknews.ca/5pm-newscast-january-28-2018-412468/ (Interview starting at 28:50)

https://www.cheknews.ca/tsunami-warning-sparks-concern-preparedness-411059/

 

 

 

RbD supports youth consultation on Canada’s Emergency Management strategy

The RbD was instrumental in supporting Public Safety Canada’s (PSC) recent consultation with youth  on the  development of a new, comprehensive EM strategy for Canada. The virtual consultation was held July 6th and engaged youth around questions concerning how to help shape strategies to support a culture of disaster preparedness and resilience, and improve disaster mitigation and response.

The consultation is one of a number of consultations with stakeholders that include emergency managers, government representatives, Indigenous Peoples, first responders, and critical infrastructure owners and operators. The decision to develop a new EM strategy responds to a recognized shift in Canada’s disaster risk profile, characterized by the increasing frequency, magnitude and cost of disasters. The initiative acknowledges the need for greater involvement and investment in emergency management in ways that increase our shared ability to understand and assess these risks in order to strengthen Canada’s collective capacity to better prevent/mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.

Public Safety Canada reached out to Dr. Cox and the RbD lab to help identify and engage youth from across Canada in a virtual focus group. Over 20 young people from across the country agreed to be involved. Participating young people offered insights from on a range of questions that focused on how to support greater collaboration among different sectors of Canadian society; ideas for improving risk communication; and suggestions for initiatives that would improve the capacity of individuals, families, communities and organizations to reduce risks and increase resilience.Youth who could not participate will have an opportunity to contribute through their written responses to questions p0sed.

“This kind of consultation with youth is all too rare,” says Cox, adding that “it provides another great example of young people’s commitment to contributing to Canada’s disaster resilience and the valuable expertise and perspectives they bring to this topic.”

The feedback from participating youth will be added to the information gathered from other stakeholders and will inform PSC’s development of the new strategy which they hope to share with the Canadian public in the spring of 2018.