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North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
May 03
Emergency Preparedness Week: Q&A with Conor McMullan

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​To mark Emergency Preparedness Week​, an annual event that encourages Canadians to pause, reflect and take action around being better prepared for a major emergency, we asked staff at the North Vancouver District to share steps they have taken to be better prepared.

Read what Conor McMullan, Director of Educational Programs, Cheakamus Centre, has to say.

Do you feel like you are ready for an emergency?

Yes, I think I am reasonably well prepared for an emergency. My family has a good inventory of emergency supplies, due in large part to our camping and backcountry activities over the years.

One area that I think needs further work is in the coordination of planning with our family. The experience of the pandemic has helped to provide some context in this respect, and I think taking time to talk through different scenarios will help to further clarify what we could expect.

Where do you keep your emergency kit?

I keep our kit in the garage in two large plastic totes. It is in an easily accessible location, and everyone in the family knows where to find it.

What motivated you to learn about emergency preparedness?

I first became interested in risk response and emergency preparedness through my work in outdoor education. Developing and leading a high school outdoor education program for 10+ years shaped how I think about planning for risks and the importance of being self-sufficient.

Working at Cheakamus Centre has also contributed to my understanding and appreciation for having effective emergency response procedures in place. Having participated in a number of emergency response events over the course of my career, I have learned that the better the planning, the more effective the response.

Do you have a favourite emergency preparedness item in your kit?

Without question, my favourite item is my camp stove. Having cooked countless meals in the backcountry, I have come to value the importance of a reliable and efficient stove. I have had the same MSR Dragonfly for over 15 years, and it’s been a great piece of equipment.

From an emergency preparedness perspective, a stove could be particularly valuable during the winter months when hot meals and drinks can make a big difference. It also serves as a good backup for water treatment if needed. 

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For more information on how you can prepare for an emergency, visit North Shore Emergency Management, PreparedBC or the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared.

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