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Public Safety

How Vancouver prepares for emergencies

Everyone has a role to play in making sure we all stay safe in emergencies.

The City commits major resources to make sure our public buildings, roads, and bridges are safe. We also make sure we are prepared to give shelter and other emergency during emergencies.

Bridge upgrades

The City owns and maintains 26 bridges throughout Vancouver. An $11 million project to seismically upgrade the older bridges, including the First Avenue viaduct, Granville Street bridge, and the first phase of the Burrard Street bridge, is now complete.

Building upgrades

The City has completed a seismic review of City-owned buildings, and set priorities for upgrading or replacing them over time.

The City has also completed a review of 1,100 privately-owned, older, multi-occupancy buildings. This study will help the City establish response priorities, and also to set policies for long-term upgrading.

Dedicated Fire Protection System (DFPS)

The City’s dedicated fire protection system (DFPS) is a $52 million project that will make sure there is a good supply of water for fighting fires in the high-density areas of the downtown peninsula, Kitsilano, and Fairview Slopes.

The DFPS consists of two saltwater pumping stations, and a dedicated, earthquake-resistant pipeline.

The first pump station, at False Creek, was opened in September, 1995. The second opened in Coal Harbour in February 1997. The pipeline protecting the Downtown core and the Kitsilano/Fairview neighbourhoods was constructed over the following six years, and the last segment was completed in the summer of 2003.

Emergency shelters

In case of a disaster, the City will open reception or group lodging centres to look after people who have to leave their homes. These will be located in the gyms within our 23 community centres, where we already have emergency supplies – such as cots and blankets – on hand.

Because many of our community centres can only accommodate 100 people, it is important that you and your family be prepared for emergencies, so you can survive on your own.

For smaller events – such as an apartment fire – we may open a reception centre, to give evacuees a place to wait until they can go back home. Evacuees are registered, and would receive food, shelter, and clothing. The centres may be open for several hours for smaller emergencies, or days (or even weeks), for larger emergencies.

Visit the City of Vancouver emergency management pages for more information, opportunities to volunteer, and resources.

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