Canadian Disaster Support Network - Virtual Operations Support Team -VOST VOSG

Over 20,000+ Team Hours in VOST/VOSG Deployment, 2016 to 2019

Much of emergency preparedness is about getting us ready to conduct situational assessment and prioritization of actions.

For those in the emergency management sector, we train people and develop resources, such as drones, field-deployed reporting & assessment apps, and geographic information systems (GIS) to support situational assessment.

The information we obtain from these assessments help in the development and maintenance of situational awareness and, when shared unilaterally across disciplines, agencies, and jurisdictions, a common operations picture forms for all to see.

Based upon the acquired assessment information, leaders at all levels make decisions.  These decisions often involve the prioritization of responses and recovery actions.  Ideally, although not universally practiced, we should have plans in place that establish standards for what we collect, analyze, and share as information, and also to support a well-informed decision making process and prioritizing our actions.

Emergency management exercises, of course, help us to validate those plans and practice associated tasks. In end measure, nothing helps us better assess, evaluated, and adapt than the emergency management hours spent deployed – in the thick of it.  As we quickly learn about ‘gaps’ in our response systems, practices, and procedures that real-time events bring to the forefront.

One significant hurdle for everyone, is, truly, how overwhelming disaster events can be;  For the affected province/state, municipalities, and community members – and for the first responders, support services personnel, and participating volunteers.

As our #VOST leadership knows all too well, in deploying VOST to respond multiple, recent, historically unprecedented disaster events, like;

  • 2011 Slave Lake Wildfire
  • 2013 Alberta Floods
  • 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire
  • 2017 BC Wildfires
  • 2018 BC Floods & Wildfires

With just slight increases in the complexity of a disaster, we experience factors such as large geography, multiple-jurisdiction stakeholders, extensive damages, high numbers of lives at risk, animal (pets/livestock) displacement & care, hazardous materials, limited or exhausted localized resources, and several others.  Certainly, we know from Incident Command System training that our broad priorities are life safety, incident stabilization, and property conservation – but with all that’s happening in large scale, multiple incident events, where do we start?

One thing that can help us both assessment and prioritization are community lifelines.

“Community lifelines reframe incident information to provide decision-makers with impact statements and root causes.”

By changing how we frame our data collection, analysis, thinking, and decision-making, we can maximize the effectiveness of our efforts.  This shouldn’t necessitate a change in our processes, but we should incorporate community lifelines into our preparedness activities.

The community lifelines, include:

  • Safety and Security
  • Food, Water, and Sheltering
  • Health and Medical
  • Energy
  • Communications
  • Transportation
  • Hazardous Materials

If this is your first time looking at community lifelines, they certainly shouldn’t be so foreign to you.  In many ways, these are identified components of our critical infrastructure.  By focusing our attention on this list of items, we can affect a more concerted response and recovery.

More recently, the global emergency management community has begun to recognize that the current upsurge of spontaneous volunteers may constitute a timely resource.  For the past years, our #VOST and #VOSG deployments have recognized, organized, and utilized the upsurge of spontaneous volunteers – comprising a network of networks of support covering a range of support services and information dissemination.

“In May 2016, a wildfire near Fort McMurray forced more than 80,000 people to flee the northern Alberta city, destroyed 2,400 buildings and burned nearly 6,000 square kilometres of forest.

A year later, the fire season in British Columbia broke records as 2,117 blazes consumed more than 12,000 square kilometres of bush.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

From the moments of alerted preparedness, through the panic, worry, and traumatic experiences of every stage of a disaster…

Our Virtual Operations Support Teams Strive To:
Share Timely, Critical Information
Ease the Worry & Confusion
Lessen The Traumatic Experiences
Coordinate & Refer Spontaneous Volunteerism
Assure Donated Supplies Go To Those In Need

Disaster Events

Evacuation Events

Relocation Events

While Evacuated
Amenities & Services

Returning Home
ReEntry Information

Clean-up & Losses

CDSN’s Currently Active, Volunteer Driven, Virtual Operations Support Groups

Alberta Wildfire Evacuee Support

Alberta Wildfire Evacuee Support
Public group · 6,027 members
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Alberta Wildfire Evacuee Support ==>> IF YOU NEED HELP - MAKE A POST - take a moment to introduce us to your situation - Most of our #AdminTeam for th...

BC Wildfire and Flood Support Group

BC Wildfire and Flood Support Group
Public group · 10,832 members
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BC Wildfire and Flood Support Group ==>> IF YOU NEED HELP - MAKE A POST - take a moment to introduce us to your situation - Most of our #AdminTeam ...

Fort Mcmurray Evac Relocation Help

Fort Mcmurray Evac Relocation Help Group
Public group · 64,013 members
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Fort Mcmurray Evac Relocation Help Group ==>> IF YOU NEED HELP - MAKE A POST - take a moment to introduce us to your situation - Most of our #AdminTeam for th...