Together, we can build the future of emergency preparedness

Looking for Ideas and Resources on how to connect with your  neighbours while practicing social distancing?

The Challenge

British Columbians are vulnerable to earthquakes, wildfires, floods, tsunamis, changing climate and severe weather. Many of us are also vulnerable to emergencies caused by chronic stresses such as declining health or financial instability. And one crucial factor underlies all of these challenges: The more socially isolated we are, the more vulnerable we are. That’s why we’ve developed Connect & Prepare – a ground-breaking approach to building preparedness by strengthening social connections between neighbours.

  • Only 54% of British Columbians say their households have any emergency plans.
  • Only 13% feel their emergency plans are reasonably complete.
  • Only 20% have any contacts and plans with neighbours to help each other.*
    *Source: BC Government Personal Preparedness Survey Report, 2018.

The Connect & Prepare Solution

Mutual assistance and preparedness planning are both vital to survival, safety and overall resilience. Connect & Prepare is an innovative, locally-developed approach to meeting both those needs together. Through facilitated presentations, interactive games, and friendly discussions, neighbours get to know each other, learn about acute emergencies and chronic stresses, identify assets and priorities, and implement shared preparedness projects. Each group of neighbours receives free workshops, shared emergency supplies, and access to micro-grants to help them continue to collaborate afterwards. It’s fun! And effective…

Connect & Prepare participants discuss challenges and options.
Connect & Prepare participants discuss challenges and options.

Connect & Prepare’s Effectiveness

Connect & Prepare was piloted in 2018 at three Victoria, BC locations: A condominum highrise, a multi-unit rental building for seniors with disabilities, and a street of single-family dwellings. The outcomes were overwhelmingly positive. Here is what participants reported:

  • 94% of neighbours got to know each other better
  • 100% of neighbours became more connected with each other
  • 100% of neighbours achieved better understanding of their collective strengths, assets and vulnerabilities in relation to acute emergencies and chronic stresses
  • 100% of neighbours took action to be better prepared for emergencies
  • Neighbours at all three sites continued collaborating on projects afterwards
When emergency strikes your neighbours are often first on the scene. Hear from community members and experts in emergency preparedness discuss risks facing British Columbia, social isolation, and how they intersect. Building resilience will require creativity. Learn more about Connect & Prepare!

This video was developed in partnership with the Hey Neighbour Collective.

Join the Connect & Prepare Team

Connect & Prepare is part of our successful Resilient Streets program, and is a collaboroation between Building Resilient Neighbourhoods and the City of Victoria’s emergency management division, Victoria Ready. There is great demand for Connect & Prepare and we’re currently seeking partners and sponsors — if you share our vision and want to help create a future where all British Columbians are both better prepared and more socially connected with their neighbours, please contact us! Or if you and your neighbours might want to participate in Connect & Prepare, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay abreast of upcoming opportunities.

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