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Hovercraft evacuation on Gabriola part of emergency preparedness exercise

RCM-SAR, Canadian Coast Guard among participants in drill organized by Gabriola fire department
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and Canadian Coast Guard vessels participated in an evacuation exercise on Gabriola Island organized by Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department on Sunday, Aug. 14. (RCM-SAR photo)

Some Gabriola Island residents have limited options for evacuation routes, and with that in mind, emergency personnel set up a mock evacuation exercise this past weekend.

Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department, with partners including Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Canadian Coast Guard, RCMP, B.C. Ambulance Service and other volunteers, set up the drill on Sunday, Aug. 14.

“Barrett Road Zone 8 is a small section on the north end of Gabriola that is surrounded by forest on three sides and by the ocean to the north,” noted a press release from RCM-SAR Station 27. “There is one road out of this area and if a forest fire were to threaten that road, the citizens of that area would need to be evacuated by sea.”

Marine search and rescue’s enclosed cabin jet boat the McGregor and its rigid-hull inflatable the Meynell were both involved in evacuating participants in the drill, noted the release. The coast guard hovercraft Moytel accessed the beach, while the RCM-SAR vessels were more suited to working along the rocky shores.

RCM-SAR called the exercise “very worthy.”

“Co-operation and communication was very good as all participants worked to apply their skills to establish best practices for this type of evacuation,” the release noted.

READ ALSO: Emergency evacuation route plan completed for Nanoose Bay

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