(Saanich staff and volunteers practice an evacuation exercise in September / District of Saanich website)

In two weeks, you may notice a lot of activity around Pearkes Recreation Centre and the nearby area.

But there’s no need to panic, it’s just a Saanich emergency management exercise, like a dress rehearsal for events that hopefully never happen.

The exercise has been planned for several months, and will feature a mock ammonia incident in the Pearkes rec-centre, followed by the construction of two fully-staffed operations centres, one emergency and one departmental, at the nearby Saanich Fire Department.

“The exercise is a significant investment in Saanich’s emergency management and training program,” said Deputy Fire Chief Frank MacDonald.

“This is an excellent opportunity for staff to practice their roles in assessing and responding to a simulated incident and for us to learn how we can improve our current emergency plans.”

Saanich will also be activating its emergency notification page on its website, as a test. Meanwhile, volunteers will establish a Reception Centre at a nearby church that has agreed to be an emergency facility for Saanich, should the need arise.

The day-long exercise, scheduled for October 17, will involve a variety of Saanich staff, including the Fire Department, Saanich Police, Occupational Health and Safety, Parks and Recreation, Communications, and Saanich Emergency Program volunteers. The exercise will also include external agents from Emergency Management BC, WorkSafe, CRD Hazmat, University of Victoria, BC Transit, and contractors.

Pearkes Recreation Centre will remain open for its regular hours during the exercise.

Saanich Emergency Exercise

When: October 17, 8:30 a.m. to “all day”
Where: Pearkes Recreation Centre and Saanich Fire Department