Learn more about Saanich’s Emergency Operations Centre

April 21, 2020

Information bulletin

For immediate release

Learn more about Saanich’s Emergency Operations Centre

Saanich, BC – Saanich’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is the hub for the District’s planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EOC’s primary objective is to support the health and safety of Saanich staff and the community.

A variety of Saanich staff have been meeting with increased frequency since late January to monitor the COVID-19 situation. On March 6, Saanich activated a Level 1 EOC to monitor the situation with a formal emergency management structure. On March 10, Saanich elevated its EOC at a Level 2 to coordinate resources, including staff,  toward preparing our response to COVID-19 and managing service disruptions. At one point due to need, the EOC expanded to a Level 3 with more than 30 staff deployed to assist then contracted back to a Level 2 where it remains activated as of today.

It’s important to remember Saanich is not the lead agency on the COVID-19 situation. Saanich takes the lead and acts on information and recommendations from the public health authorities.

What do the different EOC levels mean?

  • Level 1 means notifying the province, monitoring, gathering situational awareness, and determining next steps.
  • Level 2 means deploying more staff, coordinating resources, and working with external agencies.
  • Level 3 means deploying even more staff and taking actions to mitigate the situation.

The EOC structure is set up to expand and contract as required to meet the needs of the incident, or in this case, the organization and community.

What is the EOC and how does it work?

Saanich’s EOC is located under Fire Hall #1 near Municipal Hall on Vernon Avenue. While it’s not a glamorous space, it’s a functional disaster-resistant location that is equipped to first and foremost ensure the safety of the community and staff in any crisis or disaster. In this case, the EOC’s role is to coordinate, ensure consistency throughout all departments, support staff, liaise with other agencies and the province, and ensure important information is shared with the community and staff.

Staff from various departments work in the EOC and work collectively to plan for a comprehensive response, taking off their respective ‘departmental hats’ and looking at the organizational needs – present and future – more broadly. The EOC will continue to be active for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and likely beyond until we resume normal operations.

Some of the EOC’s priorities include:

  • ensuring compliance with the provincial health authority orders;
  • ensuring health and safety of all Saanich staff—working from home, in the office, or in the field—and providing appropriate PPE;
  • balancing safety with providing a essential services to the public and continuing day-to-day operations;
  • exploring options and strategies for public engagement while complying with physical distancing;
  • communicating with all staff, Saanich residents and organizational partners;
  • coordinating departmental project planning and strategic plan implementation given impacts of the pandemic;
  • working with other regional municipalities on support for people experiencing homelessness; and
  • planning for how to resume normal operations when the pandemic is over and orders have been lifted.

Learn more

Please visit the Saanich Emergency Program web pages for more information about our EOC and emergency preparedness in Saanich.

Visit Saanich.ca/COVID-19 for more information on Saanich’s response to COVID-19 as well as the most up-to-date information on service disruptions.


Media contact:
Information Officer
Emergency Operations Centre