Extreme Weather Risk & Preparedness

Floods in BC Nov 2021

Canada Floods: 18,000 People Stranded In British Columbia As Rescue Operations Continue

In the world of extreme weather events, it’s imperative that businesses accelerate their climate risk assessment, mitigation, and adaptation strategies. This past week British Columbia Canada, Canada has experienced extreme weather conditions: floods, landslides, and severe storms caused by climate change are affecting numerous communities  particularly hit hard the southwest and central areas of the province.

Business supply chains across British Columbia have been disrupted, communities torn apart. Emergency response to such events is complex and requires cooperation across all levels of government – a state of emergency was declared. First responders and officials from Environment Canada have been actively engaged. Canadian Armed Forces members, search and rescue volunteers, and emergency managers are working to keep people safe. There continues to be a need for further support in remote communities and Indigenous communities who are being significantly affected by this devastation.

The Canadian forces were called to provide transportation, humanitarian, and supply assistance to individuals, communities, and critical infrastructure. Air support has been called in to evacuate people affected by the floods and to reach important supply routes disrupted by the floods; help to vulnerable, stranded, or in-distress people; and personnel to mitigate the effects of the floods, which includes the protection of critical infrastructure, access roads, and properties.

What organizations should do to prepare and mitigate weather events?

For organizations and commercial entities, it’s important to understand what your organization’s exposure is to extreme weather events. Once an event like the one in BC happens it’s important to assess your organization’s incident response and disaster recovery.

  1. Is my incident response capable of handling events similar to what happened in BC
  2. What is the state of our operations?  What is our operational readiness for supporting vulnerable sites?
  3. Are the elevation levels of our buildings above flood risk zones?
  4. How many of our facilities are able to find alternate sources of grid power and power supplies? 
  5. Are there  shelters available in the local community?
  6. Do our locations have the needed resources, such as emergency kits, fresh bottled water, additional fuel ?
  7. Is the landscaping around our facilities storm resistant?
  8. Do we have the real-time information  needed to stay ahead of and respond to the risks during extreme weather?
  9. Do we have emergency plans, disaster recovery plans for data, communications, and people?

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