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Here’s what these shipping containers are for on the North Shore

Have you spotted a shipping container outside a community building on the North Shore?
West Vancouver emergency container
The latest of six emergency containers spread out across the North Shore has just been positioned near the West Vancouver Community Centre.

Shipping containers placed near community centres on the North Shore might seem a little random, but they’re actually strategically positioned emergency storage pods — with equipment needed for when a natural disaster strikes. 

The latest of six emergency containers spread out across the North Shore has been positioned near the West Vancouver Community Centre.

The District of West Vancouver says the bright green container, outside the Ice Arena, is there to help prepare the community in the event of a major earthquake or other disaster.

While non-descript on the outside, on the inside, the Disaster Supply Cache has items to help first responders such as radios, generators, personal protective equipment and evacuee support supplies.

The Disaster Supply Caches are a joint effort between North Shore Emergency Management and the three North Shore municipalities — the District of West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, and the City of North Vancouver.

They're part of the North Shore Operational Readiness Initiative, a resiliency strategy that includes co-ordinating emergency response across the North Shore.

“The contents of the containers aid local responders in the event of a disaster such as a major earthquake, urban interface wildfire, or flood, and are located at key centres where emergency response and support would be organized,” the district website states.

“In addition, the supplies have recently been used in apartment fires on the North Shore.”

Michael Andrews, deputy director of North Shore Emergency Management, says the containers are intended to support "residents in their time of greatest need."

"In the event of a disaster, this Disaster Supply Cache ensures the availability of resources necessary to help West Vancouver residents recover, including many of our most vulnerable residents who live nearby in seniors care homes," he explained.

The other containers can be found near the Gleneagles Community Centre and, in North Vancouver, near North Shore Neighbourhood House, Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre, Parkgate Community Centre and, soon to be installed, at the North Vancouver Tennis Centre.

The project was partially funded by a 2018 community emergency preparedness fund grant under the Union of BC Municipalities.

Are you prepared for a natural disaster? Here are some tips on how to get prepared and what to include in a home emergency kit.

Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.