Staged earthquake gives volunteers real life practice

Staged earthquake gives volunteers real life practice

VANCOUVER — Rubble, blood, bodies — all strewn around the Strathcona area of Vancouver, marking many West Coast residents’ greatest fear: the big earthquake.

But it hasn’t happened yet. Today, the victims are actors from the Vancouver Film School and their rescuers are volunteers from Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team, or NEAT in this post-disaster exercise.

“They’re trained at the higher level than an average person. Once they’ve taken care of their home and their family, they would respond to one of the staging areas, and that’s what the situation is today,” Acting Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Brian Bogdanovich told Global News.

The NEAT volunteers are concerned citizens, who have spent 18 hours training in disaster preparedness and response. They’ve had monthly classes on safety, first-aid, radio communications, fire extinguishers and incident command. Their training culminated in this realistic disaster scenario, complete with police dogs, damaged buildings and victims. Challenges ranged from caring for the victims, area reconnaissance to live fire and car accidents.

VFRS Special Operations Team, Heavy Rescue Team and the City of Vancouver’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team also completed the drills, alongside the NEAT volunteers.


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