The SLRD maintains a number of emergency plans for the purpose of managing organizational response to major emergencies and disasters. When required, these plans provide a guide for:
- Activating the SLRD Emergency Operations Centre,
- Coordinating with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and others,
- Facilitating continuity of SLRD local government services, and
- Transitioning from response to recovery operations.
In developing its emergency response capabilities, the SLRD has adopted the standardized framework mandated by the Government of British Columbia for use by local authorities throughout the province: The BC Emergency Management System (BCEMS). To facilitate inter-agency cooperation, BCEMS incorporates the Incident Command System (ICS) best practices commonly employed by governments, first responders, and private sector organizations throughout North America.
BCEMS outlines the following Response Goals in order of priority:
- Ensure the Health and Safety of First Responders. The well-being of responders must be effectively addressed or they may be unable to respond to the needs of those at risk.
- Save Lives. The importance of human life is paramount over all other considerations. When lives are at risk, all reasonable efforts must be made to eliminate the risk.
- Reduce Suffering. Physical and psychological injury can cause significant short- and long-term impact on individuals, families, and communities. Response measures should take into consideration all reasonable measures to reduce or eliminate human suffering.
- Protect Public Health. Public health measures essential to the well-being of communities should be maintained or implemented. Enhancing surveillance and detection, eliminating health hazards, minimizing exposure, and implementing programs such as widespread immunization may need to be considered.
- Protect Infrastructure. When necessary to sustain response efforts, maintain basic human needs, and support effective recovery, infrastructure that is critical to the livelihood of the community should be protected ahead of other property.
- Protect Property. Property can be essential to the livelihood of communities. When determining priorities, response personnel should evaluate the importance of protecting private and community property.
- Protect the Environment. The environment is essential to communities. When determining priorities, response personnel should evaluate the importance of protecting the environment and implement protective strategies that are in the best interest of the broader community.
- Reduce Economic and Social Loss. The loss of economic generators can have shortand long-term impact on communities, including social losses related to the loss of community support networks and reduced employment, investment, and development. Response measures may be necessary to reduce these losses, and psychosocial interventions may be required for those impacted by the disaster.