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News Item

Students to become BC's Masters of Disaster

October 14, 2016


Minister Naomi Yamamoto teaches the first module of the Master of Disaster program to grade six students at Queen Mary Elementary

A new program to help inspire students throughout the province to do their part to prepare British Columbia families and communities for emergencies is now available in B.C. classrooms. On Friday, October 14, 2016, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto visited Queen Mary Elementary School to announced the launch of the Master of Disaster program, a three-module learning resource, available in both English and French, designed to help Grade 6 students learn about emergency preparedness from a proactive and interactive all-hazards perspective.

"This Master of Disaster program is a fun and interactive way to develop a foundation to guide and help protect our students, families and communities for a lifetime. By teaching children about emergency preparedness when they are young, students can help ingrain these lessons in our culture and better protect B.C. families for generations to come. The resiliency of our province depends on us all taking action, and doing everything we can to prepare for emergencies. I am so proud of the work of our ministry and our partners in making this vision a reality," said ​Minister Yamamoto.

To become a Master of Disaster, students gain the knowledge necessary to prepare for the worst should disaster strike, as well as the skills to create more resilient and connected households and families that understand the importance of working together before, during and after an emergency.

“Knowing the best way to respond following a disaster results in clear thinking, reduced panic and decisive action. The Master of Disaster program provides comprehensive yet practical information to young people that will contribute richly to creating a culture of preparedness in the next generation. Insurance Bureau of Canada applauds the Government of British Columbia on its pioneering effort in the development and launch of this exciting new program,” said Bill Adams, Vice-president, Western & Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada - a major contributor to the Master of Disaster program.

The Master of Disaster program was first introduced by PreparedBC as a pilot in five schools in April 2016. Feedback received from teachers and students who participated in the pilot has been incorporated to enhance the program in preparation for today's province wide launch. The program was developed in collaboration with public, independent and First Nations school teachers from around B.C., emergency program coordinators, parent advisory council members, school administrators and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.​​

“After being involved in the Master of Disaster working group, I am very proud to see what a successful program we have created. This program is a great way to help kids and families to mitigate the overall risk to our communities,” said Kulvir Mann, North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council executive.


A Queen Mary Elementary student looks over emergency preparedness resources

At the province-wide launch at Queen Mary Elementary School, Minister Yamamoto taught the first module of the program to Ms. Esther Clark's grade six class. The class was fully engaged, asking relevant questions and getting excited about creating emergency plans. Students already learn about emergency preparedness in many ways at school, and this new program helps them bring this learning home.

“Safety is a priority for the North Vancouver Board of Education. Safe, sustainable and welcoming facilities for students and staff have driven renewal in our school district. Our board is committed to ensuring we work towards providing families with a sense of security that each child who enters one of our schools is safe,” said Franci Stratton, Vice Chair, North Vancouver Board of Education.

The Master of Disaster program is available for free to all schools in the province.​