What is an Emergency? What is a Disaster?

An emergency is a present or imminent event that:

  • Is caused by an accident, fire, explosion, or technical failure, or by the forces of nature and;
  • Requires prompt coordination of action or special regulation of persons or property to protect the health, safety, or welfare of people or to limit damage to property.

A disaster is a calamity that:

Is caused by accident, fire, explosion or technical failure, or by the forces of nature, and has resulted in serious harm to the health, safety, or welfare of people, or in widespread damage to property.

What is the UNA doing to help residents prepare?

The UNA is committed to keeping its residents safe. An important part of doing so is ensuring that residents are prepared for an emergency or disaster: the best protection is knowing what to do.

The UBC Vancouver campus is situated on the edge of the Point Grey peninsula. As a result, UBC is geographically isolated and inherently poses a unique challenge in terms of executing emergency response following a large-scale emergency or disaster. UBC recognizes the possibility where the University may be temporarily disconnected from external response agencies and humanitarian assistance.

Metro Vancouver has delegated the responsibility to UBC in leading the development of an over-arching Emergency Management Plan for the campus, that is integrated into Metro Vancouver’s Emergency Management Plan. UBC has identified the UNA neighbourhoods as part of the University’s area of responsibility during any event where an emergency response is required. To that end, UBC has incorporated the UNA neighbourhoods as part of UBC’s Emergency Management Plan (UBC EMP), and is working closely with the UNA on emergency planning.

As part of UBC’s commitment to integrate the UNA within their Emergency Management Plan, emergency notifications for UNA residents have been incorporated into UBC Alert.

Purchase a 72 hour Emergency Preparedness Kit.
Included in each kit:

  • 12 x 125 ml water packets (5 yr shelf life)
  • 1 x 3600cal. Food block (5 yr shelf life)
  • 1 x lightstick
  • 1 x poncho
  • 1 x garbage bag
  • 1 x mylar blanket
  • 1 x toilet tissue
  • 1 x water repellent bag
  • Assorted first aid

Prices:

  • $59.95 plus taxes when you buy 1–3 kits
  • $56.95 plus taxes when you buy 4-9 kits
  • $53.95 plus taxes when you buy 10+ kits

72hr-emergency-preparedness-kit

Replacement Kits (for existing UNA Emergency Kit holders)
Included in each kit:

  • 12 x 125 ml water packets (5 yr shelf life)
  • 1 x 3600cal. Food block (5 yr shelf life)

Price:

  • $24.95 plus applicable taxes (if you bring your existing UNA 72 hour Emergency kit with you)

Available at:

UNA Office (#202-5923 Berton Ave.)
M-F 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Wesbrook Community Centre (3335 Webber Ln.)
M-Th 8:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Fri 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Sat-Sun 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Holidays 12:00PM – 6:00 PM

The Old Barn Community Centre (6308 Thunderbird Blvd.)
M-Sun 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

The UNA Emergency Preparedness Framework

Emergency Procedures

Earthquake Quick Facts

The earth’s crust is separated into massive pieces called techtonic plates. Consider this as being one gigantic puzzle that is placed in a globe formation with some pieces being interlocked and some that are not.

When the interlocking sections of the plates slip past or slide under one another, a large amount of energy is released, causing the ground to move and shake (aka an Earthquake)

How Does This Affect UNA Residents?

Vancouver is situated on the boundary of the North American plate and the Juan de Fuca plate. Currently the Juan de Fuca plate is moving towards the North America plate at a rate of 2-5 cm/year, and is subducting beneath the continent in a region called the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Studies indicate the Juan de Fuca plate and the North American plate are currently locked together, causing an enormous amount of strain being built up in the earth’s crust. At the moment when these plates snap loose, a large amount of energy will be released and can produce a very large “Megathrust earthquake” (“The Big One”), similar to the 1964 magnitude 9.4 Alaska earthquake or the 1960 magnitude 9.5 Chile earthquake.

However, Vancouver is also at risk of experiencing a lower magnitude but more damaging earthquake that can happen in the Strait of Georgia or under the Coast Mountains. Historical data confirms that British Columbia has been struck by some of the world’s largest earthquakes, and recent studies show that there is a 25 percent chance that we will experience another major earthquake within the next 50 years.

Although it is impossible to predict with certainty when the next earthquake will occur, it is important for UNA residents to know what they can do to be prepared.

  • Clearly label the on/off positions for the water, gas, and electricity.
  • Secure heavy appliances and furniture to the walls (and keep heavy items on lower shelves).
  • Secure mirrors, paintings and other hanging objects, so they won’t fall off hooks.
  • Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to keep contents from spilling out.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in an accessible location.
  • To purchase a UNA emergency preparedness kit – click here
  • For more information and tips – click here
  • Earthquake Procedures

If you are indoors:

During the shaking

  • DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON.
  • Stay inside until after the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from windows, shelves and heavy objects which may fall.
  • DROP under heavy furniture such as a table, desk or any solid furniture.
  • COVER your head, face and torso to prevent being hit by falling objects.
  • HOLD ON to the object that you are under so that you remain covered. Be prepared to move with the object until the shaking has finished.
  • If you can’t get under something strong, or if you are in a hallway, crouch against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from an exterior wall, as it is more likely to sustain damage during an earthquake.

After the shaking stops

  • Count to 60 to allow debris to finish falling.
  • Assess the impact and your immediate surroundings for dangers. Evacuation after an earthquake should not be automatic.

Stay

If there is no immediate threat to life and limited damage, such as: Broken glass, non-structural debris, and some utility outages.

Evacuate

  • If there is an immediate threat to life, such as: fire, gas leak, flooding, an evacuation order, or major structural damage.
  • Proceed with evacuating the building.
  • Follow instructions of Building Floor Wardens during evacuation.
  • Remain calm, and evacuate quickly and in an orderly manner. WALK, DO NOT RUN.
  • Do not use the elevator(s).
  • Proceed to the designated Area of Refuge if you have difficulty negotiating the stairs or if you need assistance in evacuating.
  • Upon exiting the building, proceed directly to the designated Evacuation Assembly Area (muster station) and wait for further instructions from the Building Emergency Director.
  • DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING until the Fire Department and the Building
  • Emergency Director gives permission to do so.
  • If an aftershock occurs during evacuation and you are still inside the building, repeat
  • DROP, COVER, AND HOLD procedure before resuming evacuation.

During the shaking

  • Stay outside.
  • Do not enter your building to evacuate occupants.
  • Go to an open area away from buildings.
  • Stay away from lamp posts, overhead power lines and heavy overhead objects that may fall on you.
  • If you are in a crowded area, take cover where you won’t be trampled.

After the shaking stops

  • Count to 60 to allow debris to finish falling.
  • Assess your immediate surroundings for dangers.
  • Proceed directly to the designated Evacuation Assembly Area (muster station) and wait for further instructions from the Building Emergency Director.
  • DO NOT ENTER ANY BUILDINGS until the Fire Department and the Building
  • Emergency Director gives permission to do so.

If you use a wheelchair:

  • If you are able, take cover under a sturdy table or desk.
  • If you are unable to take cover underneath a table or desk, move towards an interior wall or an inside corner of the room (or an open area if you are outside), lock the wheels and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows, shelves and heavy objects that may fall.
  • Stay away from an exterior wall, as it is more likely to sustain damage during an earthquake.
  • Monitor www.ubc.ca and www.myuna.ca for information and updates regarding the event.
  • For residents who have provided updated personal contact information to the UNA office may receive notification from UBC’s emergency mass notification system. Monitor your landline phones, cell phones and email mailboxes for voicemail messages, text messages and emails for information and updates regarding the event.
  • Emergency Response Personnel or Volunteers may be deployed to areas across campus to disseminate pertinent information in response to the event.

*NOTE: Progress is currently being made by the University and the UNA to address the area of Emergency Social Services (ESS) for the campus community. While the University and the UNA are taking additional measures to help prepare the campus for disasters such as earthquakes, we also strongly encourage staff, faculty, residents and students to be personally prepared (e.g. having 72 hours emergency preparedness kits). Additional ESS related information will be provided once available.*

Visitors to Metro Vancouver Parks, including Pacific Spirit Park are asked to obey posted signs and fire danger guidelines:

  • Campfires are permitted in designated areas with containment facilities (i.e. fire rings/pits), and only as local fire authorities allow
  • Briquette and propane barbecues and gas stoves are permitted in approved facilities under direct supervision – if you are using briquettes, PLEASE dispose of them carefully in provided receptacles;
  • Smoking is not permitted in regional parks, except in designated areas. Signs mark the designated areas.
  • Be aware of all spark sources;
  • Report all forest fires to 911 and Parks staff.

Visitors to UNA park spaces have the following fire-related restrictions:

  • No open-fires (e.g. campfires or briquette/propane barbecues) are allowed;
  • Be aware of all spark sources;
  • Report all fires to 911 and UNA staff.

In hot and dry summer months, forest fires are of a serious concern. Grass and other open fires can get out of control quickly and cause wildfires. During warmer weather, the number of visitors to regional parks increases, resulting in increased risk of accidental wildfires. If you discover a wildfire, contact the fire department immediately and wait for further instructions regarding evacuation and the protection of you and your home.

Household fires can spread very quickly and pose a large threat to all building occupants and adjacent buildings.

If you (or another building occupant) discover a fire in your home or somewhere else in the building, follow these steps:

  • Immediately activate the closest fire pull alarm.
  • Follow instructions of Building Floor Wardens during evacuation.
  • Urge people to stay calm and evacuate in a quick and orderly manner. WALK, DO NOT RUN.
  • To help contain the fire, close windows and doors that are near to you on your way out, but ONLY DO SO IF IT IS SAFE.
  • Use the stairway to evacuate; DO NOT use the elevator(s).
  • Proceed to the designated Area of Refuge if you have difficulty negotiating the stairs or if you need assistance in evacuating.
  • Upon exiting the building, proceed directly to the designated Evacuation Assembly Area (muster station) and wait for further instructions from the Building Emergency Director.
  • Once evacuated, call 911 and provide pertinent information about the fire (building address, location of fire, people trapped, etc.).
  • DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING until the Fire Department and the Building Emergency Director gives permission to do so.
  • Look for frayed / loose power cords.
  • Do not leave portable heating devices unattended.
  • Do not leave stoves/ovens unattended when in operation.
  • Do not leave combustible materials (e.g. paper, wood, cloth, etc.) near heat sources.
  • Extinguish and discard cigarette butts responsibly, using ashtrays. (Local strata bylaws and building policies will be applied to smoking within private property).
  • Have a class ABC fire extinguisher

*Please ensure if outdoor cooking/barbecues are permitted by your strata/building manager (Local strata bylaws and building policies will be applied in private property)*

Use the following tips to safely cook outdoors:

  • Keep flammable liquids away from live coals to avoid explosions and burns.
  • Keep children safely away from the barbecue fire.
  • Before you start your barbeque, make sure the stand is level and steady.
  • Keep a container of water nearby when the coal is burning.
  • To start a charcoal fire, use an approved charcoal electric starter or chemicals in cake form. Never use gasoline, naptha, or other flammable materials to start a charcoal fire.
  • Never add fire starter after you have started your barbecue to speed a slow fire or rekindle a dying fire; tuck dry kindling under coals.
  • When you are finished cooking, soak the coals with water to prevent their re-ignition.
  • Never keep damp or wet charcoals in an unventilated area; drying coals can spontaneously combust.