May 22, 2019 --
School District No. 57 plays a significant role in the City of Prince George's emergency response plan.
In March of 2019, the School District and the City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that will see 18 schools utilized as Evacuation Muster Points to ensure the safety and well-being of students and residents during an emergency event resulting in evacuation.
"The School District has been extremely helpful to the City, and the reverse of that, of course, is City facilities (have been identified) to host students and staff should they ever have to evacuate," said Adam Davey, Manager, Emergency Programs, Fire Services for the City of Prince George.
The schools designated as Evacuation Muster Points are: Beaverly Elementary (9777 Western Rd.); Blackburn Elementary (2222 Blackburn Rd.); Glenview Elementary (7310 Cluff Rd.); Hart Highlands Elementary (2233 Sussex Lane); Harwin Elementary (1193 Harper St.); Heather Park Middle School (7151 Heather Park Rd.); Ecole Lac des Bois Elementary (4131 Rainbow Dr.); Nusdeh Yoh Elementary (2579 Victoria St.); John McInnis Centre (3400 Westwood Dr.); Polaris Montessori (7005 Gladstone Dr.); Quinson Elementary (251 Ogilvie St.); Springwood Elementary (4600 Zral Rd.); Van Bien Elementary (311 Wilson Cres.); Vanway Elementary (4509 Highway 16 West); College Heights Secondary (6180 Domano Blvd.); D.P. Todd Secondary (4444 Hill Ave.); Duchess Park Secondary (747 Winnipeg St.); and Prince George Secondary (2901 Griffths Ave.).
Upon agreement between the School District and the City, any other school may be used as an Evacuation Muster Point, as required. The above list may change from time to time, and as circumstances dictate during an evacuation event.
The schools will not be available for use at all times.
"I think it's important to note for the public that the schools are not to be used when children are in session, so there won't be any evacuees and students mixing," Davey said. "The whole idea with these assembly points is for folks to head to (locations) where they can be collected by buses when it's safe to do so."
If schools are not available for use as Evacuation Muster Points, the memorandum of understanding stipulates that "best effort on both parties will be made to ensure a feasible alternate Muster location is quickly identified during a real-time emergency event."
Highly-visible signage identifying the 18 schools as Evacuation Muster Points is expected to be in place by July, said Nadine Neil, Health and Safety Officer for School District No. 57.
Three City facilities, meanwhile, have been designated as evacuation locations for some School District No. 57 schools. They are: Exhibition Park (CN Centre and/or Kin Centre and/or Aquatic Centre (Ospika Blvd., 18th Ave.); the Prince George Conference & Civic Centre (808 Canada Games Way); and the Elksentre Arena (4833 Heather Park Rd.).
The City hosted an inter-agency emergency training session at CN Centre on May 17. The session staged a mock emergency scenario of a large wildfire moving toward Prince George and the emergency response of the on-ground Incident Command, including the Prince George Fire Rescue Services and RCMP, the Emergency Operations Centre (led by the City of Prince George), the coordination of Emergency Support Services and other emergency-related operations.
"The plan is for all hazards, which means any calamity we could face," Davey said. "But, in particular, we're exercising the wildfire evacuation response. I think it's front and centre in most people's minds so that's where we've put the main effort for the year."
During the training session, a 275-square-metre version of the City of Prince George evacuation map was placed on the floor underneath the CN Centre score clock to help participants visualize the emergency operations of Incident Command. All 18 schools that will be used as Evacuation Muster Points are indicated on the map.
A high-resolution copy of the map is available for download on the City of Prince George's Emergency Response web page.
Residents are encouraged to visit the City of Prince George website and subscribe to Emergency Alerts.