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Editorial: In Vancouver's harbour, we have bigger concerns than ship strikes

Rather than fret about our bridges, cargo ships and earthquakes, take some time to plan for any emergency at home
Wreckage from the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. | National Transportation Safety Board

If you've been reading the news out of Baltimore this past week, you’d be forgiven if you’re feeling a bit leery about our own North Shore bridges. Beyond any loss of life, the collapse of the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing or Lions Gate Bridge would have drastic impacts on the movement of goods in Western Canada, and life on the North Shore would become exceptionally difficult.

Indeed, we’ve seen what happens when a single pothole closes just one lane at rush hour.

The good news is that we are far less likely to experience a serious ship strike in the first place thanks to our more stringent requirements for tugs and pilots to safely get ships in and out of the harbour.

For critical infrastructure though, you need multiple layers of protection and redundancies. For that, the province is working on designs for physical protection barriers that would protect the North Shore bridges in the unlikely event of a ship drifting off course.

More of a worry though is if both bridges are destroyed or damaged in an earthquake. North Shore Emergency Management and the province have some plans in place for the movement of people and goods, but in that kind of scenario, driving downtown will be the least of your problems.

Rather than fret about the possibility of a vessel strike impacting our bridges, take some time this week to get your home emergency kit and plan shipshape.

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