This week, School District No. 57 began installing signs at select schools throughout Prince George to indicate their designation as official “Community Evacuation Assembly Points” in the event of an evacuation.
Earlier this year, the city and School District No. 57 signed a memorandum of understanding in part to select primary and alternate evacuation muster points at 18 local schools to ensure the safety and well-being of students and residents during an emergency event resulting in evacuation. Should any school need to be evacuated due to an emergency, the city will accommodate students and school staff at civic facilities, such as the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre.
The city worked with School District No. 57 to pick the locations of the assembly points, which were selected based on their centrality and traffic flow in each evacuation zone. Schools are often selected as community muster points as their locations are commonly known to most residents and they tend to be located in every neighbourhood. The muster points will be limited to school parking lots to ensure the safety of students, should an evacuation occur while school is in session. In the event that a school is unavailable to be used during an emergency, the city and school district will both work to ensure a feasible alternate muster location is quickly identified and communicated to the public.
“The City of Prince George and School District No. 57 share a strong partnership in safeguarding the well-being of students and residents within the community during any emergency event,” said Lyn Hall, Mayor of Prince George. “The city is currently in year-one of a strategic plan to improve the city’s readiness for all foreseeable emergencies. Strengthening our partnerships with key local agencies such as the School District is critical to our success.”
The schools that have been selected at muster points are indicated on the city emergency evacuation map. The map is based largely upon the current city garbage collection map, due to the fact that residents are already familiar with the map’s coloured zones. A high resolution copy is available for download on the City’s Emergency Response web page. A mail-out to all residents of the combined garbage pickup and evacuation zone map is planned for next year.
“The partnership between School District No. 57 and the City of Prince George was an integral part of our emergency response planning, in the event that we ever need to evacuate a school,” said Nadine Neil, the School District’s Health and Safety Officer. “By working together with the City, we have secured access to City facilities at a moment’s notice to ensure the safety of students and staff.”