Pemberton hosts annual Emergency Preparedness Open House 

Popular event brings together first responders and highlights need to be prepared

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE - Get ready First responders were on hand for Pemberton's Emergency Preparedness Open House, stressing the need to be ready for unforeseen events.
  • photo by Joel Barde
  • Get ready First responders were on hand for Pemberton's Emergency Preparedness Open House, stressing the need to be ready for unforeseen events.

Emergency responders from several agencies got together on Saturday, May 11 for Pemberton's annual Emergency Preparedness Open House.

Fire trucks and ambulances lined the street, and members of the fire department served hot dogs to visitors.

Robert Grossman, fire chief for Pemberton Fire Rescue, was on hand for the event, which was held at the Pemberton Rescue Fire Hall (1350 Aster Street) this year.

The goal of the day was to encourage the public to be prepared for an emergency, said Grossman.

"Right now, with wildfire season, make sure that you are prepared to leave, and you know who the contacts are to get more information (from)," he said.

Members of the Pemberton RCMP and BC Wildfire Services' Pemberton branch were also on hand for the informal event.

Members of the volunteer fire department set up a station—which featured a propane burner that emitted flames—dedicated to teaching the public how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

"We go through a little spiel and they learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and it's great," said Grossman. "A lot of people say they've got (a fire extinguisher) but they've never used it."

Paul Keenleyside, of the Canadian Red Cross's Emergency and Disaster Services, said emergency preparedness "cannot be emphasized enough" in the Pemberton area given flood and wildfire risk.

"Be prepared for 72 hours," said Keenleyside. "Make sure you have your own personal emergency preparedness kit ... We at the Red Cross do sell a kit that can be bought at the Red Cross website at"

Some good tips on how to prepare for an emergency can also be found on the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) website:

Nick Soverel, a registered professional forester contracted with the Village to work on fuel-reduction projects, manned a booth in the fire station.

"Today's main goal is to educate ... (and) talk about any issues or concerns (people) have with the potential fuel treatment or reduction," said Soverel, standing next to a map that showed an area, located near the Sea to Sky Highway and west of One Mile Lake, slated for fuel reduction.

It's one of four areas slated for treatment, said Soverel, adding that he's especially looking for feedback from mountain bikers as some trails will be impacted.

"In the prescription, I will have measures that will protect or rehabilitate trails if they are affected," said Soverel. "I'm definitely looking for feedback from the community."

Sarah Toews, emergency program coordinator for the Village of Pemberton, was also on hand at the event, handing out educational information and encouraging the public to complete a survey.

In response to the most recent floodplain mapping report, the VOP is currently working on an Integrated Flood Response Plan in coordination with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, Lil'wat Nation, and the Pemberton Valley Dyking District. A component of the plan is the development of a new evacuation plan that will be used by all three jurisdictions in the event of a major flood.

To assist the process, the VOP is asking residents how they would evacuate.

The survey, which closes May 20, can be found here:


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