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Every year, the Great BC Shake Out raises the question whether schools in our district are prepared, and have the adequate emergency supplies and resources for staff to respond to an emergency, or catastrophic disaster.

Common practise is for a school’s PAC to help acquire and organize the school’s emergency supplies by fundraising. While most PACs are making some sort of effort to address the deficiencies for their school, they are experiencing similar challenges stemming from a lack of clear direction, or a quantified list of specific items for a PAC to purchase. This has created an ad hoc system with each PAC buying supplies in isolation and without oversight. This has resulted in: schools with insufficient emergency equipment in type or quantity, wide variances in equipment utility (some of which requires highly specialized training to operate safely), and in some cases, emergency equipment that is incompatible with the school emergency plans and procedures. Further compounding this problem, is the fact that not all PACs choose to fundraise. A PAC would need to budget approx. $500-$1000 per year (depending on the school’s population) to replenish the food and water supplies. Based on these figures, many PACs will continue to struggle to have enough money to purchase basic supplies let alone high dollar value items such as a storage container, or properly equipped classroom emergency backpacks. 

Currently, there is no mandate, or clear direction as to who needs to provide schools with these much-needed resources. Parents have a responsibility and want to support their school’s emergency plan; however, parents should not be asked to take on the financial burden of acquiring all of the supplies for their school.

The opinion of parents varies on many issues; however, emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s time for parents to have one voice and stand united. The best way for a PAC to support their school emergency plan is to budget for the replacement of perishable stores. These supplies will directly impact their children and can be rotated through PAC events while the family is part of the school community. Parents are not asked to pay for the school’s fire extinguishers, nor should they be asked to pay for the school’s emergency supplies.

To move this forward, the VCPAC Executive needs feedback from your PAC about this initiative, and whether the PACs in SD61 agree to budget for and replace only the perishable emergency supplies, and advocate for adequate new district funding for the basic essentials .

If you have any questions, please contact Marketa Lund at .

For further information:  

E – CANS and Standard District Emergency Supplies

Report to the SD61 Equity Committee

District Committees: Terms of reference can be found here

  • French Advisory 2 parent positions meets 1-2 times a year
  • One Learning Community 1 parent vote, open for all to attend meets monthly(?)
  • Long Term Facilities 1 parent meets 5-6 times a year
  • Middle School review 1 parent vote, open to all they have not yet met(?)

VCPAC Committees

  • Awards Committee
    • Plan, organize and facilitate the event. Meet as needed to make a memorable event.
  • Vancouver Island Parent Conference
    • Various levels of participation. Meets as needed. Many hands make light work.
  • Emergency Preparedness
    • Work with Marketa on the initiatives we are collaborating on at district and municipal level ie reunification exercises in January

Future possibilities to be decided at a future general meeting

  • Parent Education committee
    • Coordinate events hosted by School PACs when open to all district parents, perhaps help connect PACs with similar plans
    • Develop a list of topics and speakers VCPAC may include in their General Meeting agendas
    • Arrange for speakers and advertising when VCPAC is involve at that level
  • Leadership training committee
    • Poll the PAC leaders as to what is needed and help find speakers (experienced PAC leaders?) to address the topic
    • Decide what venue is best to address identified issues
    • Plan or organize networking events such as PAC congress, PAC summit, coffee chat groups, evening appies, etc to support leadership development

The One Learning Community Committee meeting addressing dress codes is on October 25th at 4pm in the School Board office.

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