Emergency Operations Centre
The Town of Sidney activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on March 12, 2020 in order to centralize the Town's COVID-19 monitoring and response efforts. The EOC was staffed by Town employees from all departments, and also included liaisons from the Sidney Business Improvement Area & Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
As of the end of June 2020, the Town of Sidney has begun to transition its COVID-19 response from an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to a focused recovery structure, which includes a Recovery Director and a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.
The Task Force will consider and develop programs and actions to support and assist the community during the COVID-19 recovery. Its members consist of representatives from various community organizations that represent a broad spectrum of sectors. They will report to Council through the Town’s Recovery Director and focus on economic and cultural recovery and resiliency, community resiliency, and prepare for the possibility of future COVID-19 waves.
The transition away from the EOC structure in no way implies that the Town’s emergency management response to this event is over. We will continue to monitor developments, and participate in regional and provincial briefings over the coming weeks and months.
What is an Emergency Operations Centre?
An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is a centralized unit that, during an emergency, is responsible for the four pillars of emergency management: mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. In this case, the EOC provides strategic direction to the Town’s operations, our business community, and to the public. This direction is based on the work produced by the EOC staff and with guidance from senior levels of government and public health authorities.
Key focus areas of the EOC's COVID-19 Response include:
- Response Planning
Updating response plans and initiating response operations as the situation evolves. Given the ever-changing and quickly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans focus on short, mid and long-term scenarios.
- Recovery Planning
The Sidney Business Improvement Area (SBIA) and the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) worked as a part of the EOC to actively participate in the business recovery process. They assisted with messaging to the business community and helped ensure the business community was aware of provincial and federal programs available to them and their staff to get them through this difficult time. Both the Chamber and SBIA provided regular updates to their members via newsletters and on their websites. The SBIA also maintained a webpage that provided details of changes to services, hours of operation, and closures for local businesses.
- Business Continuity Planning
We worked with the SBIA and Chamber to support their members with implementing and adjusting business continuity plans, and the Town has implemented its own to ensure essential services are provided to residents and to ensure the health and safety of our staff and the public. For the Town, this includes a New Policy with work from home options and direction regarding the maintenance of non-essential and essential services.
- Liaison with Local Partners & Organizations
The EOC was in daily communication with partner governments, local RCMP, and local organizations. This includes daily communication with our Senior Care Homes to share information and provide support and business continuity assistance. Daily consultations occurred with various networks on how to best support and communicate with vulnerable populations.
- Information Monitoring
The EOC monitored daily updates from senior levels of government and public health agencies.
The EOC communicated with residents through a variety of methods, including our website and social media pages. Our daily website updates focussed on the most current information relative to Sidney and its residents, along with general information to keep residents informed of the situation from a federal and global level. We worked on expanding our communication methods, including posting informational posters around town and working with Radio Sidney to provide regular audio updates for broadcast.
Examples of EOC Initiatives:
- Daily website updates relative to Sidney and its residents
- Monitoring, reviewing and considering all Provincial Health Authority directives
- Creation of COVID-19 Informational Poster for distribution to multi-family residential stratas and businesses (intended for those that don’t have access to computer)
- Temporarily repurposing the western section of Downtown Employee Parking Lot as Critical Supply Chain Rest Stop
- Development of a support plan for vulnerable persons with no fixed address
- Temporarily closing municipal playgrounds, sport courts, and the skate park
- Development of a Business Liaison Program to support our local business community