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Creating a neighbourhood of self-sufficiency in RDCK communities

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
April 3rd, 2023

Neighbours helping neighbours is coming to your neighbourhood. 

With the potential of for severe flooding, wildfire, extreme weather conditions, avalanches, landslides and power outages continually surfacing, the Regional District of Central Kootenay is giving people the tools to handle these disasters in their communities.

Towards that end the Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) — which supports residents in preparing for emergencies and building resiliency within their neighbourhood — is being launched.

During a disaster, neighbours will be the most reliable and immediate source of help, until assistance from first responders arrives, said Jon Jackson, RDCK Emergency Program coordinator in a press release.

“With a little planning, preparation and support from our neighbours, residents can be self-sufficient for 72 hours or longer after an incident,” he said. “This allows first responders to focus on providing critical support, and prioritising those people in life-threatening situations.”

Jackson said NEPP provides the tools needed to expand from being personally prepared to developing an emergency plan with neighbours that leverages the support for one another.

“The idea is to empower residents to work together to identify risks in their neighbourhood and collectively develop plans for how to prepare, often by utilizing skills and resources that already exist,” he added.

One year ago a pilot program of NEPP was run by the RDCK. During the pilot 10 neighbourhoods or community groups developed Neighbourhood Emergency Plans and are still doing so, Jackson noted.

“The process so far has been quite straight forward,” said Nancy Corrin, Queens Bay Neighbourhood Emergency Team. “The tools are clear and can be adapted to whatever the community wants to include, based on the specific hazards for their area. NEPP extends the concept of community preparedness and neighbour helping neighbour ideas. There is value to be had in collective community strategy and cooperative action when it comes to facing a community crisis.”

The need to plan ahead for emergencies is real, considering a 2014 Statistics Canada survey determined that less than half of Canadians had a home emergency supply kit. People were less likely to set aside items such as water, food, medicine, flashlights or cash at their homes in case of an emergency.

People lead very busy lives, with lots of priorities, so it’s not always clear to people why this is important, Jackson explained.

“All around the world, disasters are happening more often — and the impacts are becoming more severe. We’ve all seen the terrible impacts of the recent floods and wildfires in BC, and how the changing climate is contributing to an increase in flooding and wildfire risk in our region. It behooves us to prepare now, in order to build our resilience to emergencies.”

For more information on the program go to  or read the RDCK NEPP Handbook.

Categories: General


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