Emergency Management @UBC: New Snow Annex to the Emergency Response Plan

Last year’s extreme winter conditions created challenges for many municipalities across metro Vancouver. From December 5th through January 20th, crews were on campus every single day, except Christmas Day, removing fresh snowfalls and preparing for ice. This was an unprecedented response for the Municipal Services team in Building Operations, and pushed their abilities to the max. And while campus performed well under that stress, on four separate occasions, TransLink was unable to make it to campus, creating challenges for our campus community.

Over the past year, Risk Management Services and Building Operations conducted a cross-campus review which highlighted transit and campus access, road and path safety on campus, as well as accessibility challenges, which complicated both academic and physical operations on campus. To address the findings of the review, a new annex to the Emergency Response Plan for UBC was created in consultation with faculty and staff.

The new snow annex covers scenarios from the routine through to major storm events, detailing non-prescriptive considerations for decision making, processes, and operational responses. The annex improves upon both operational response, decision making, and communications with campus users. The goal is to create a more streamlined, supportive, and evidence-based response to extreme weather to ensure public safety and business continuity, as well as the protection of infrastructure and property.

The annex is being reviewed and will inform our work throughout the snow and ice season. For more information on the operational snow response, visit the Building Operations website. Any changes to campus activities due to extreme weather will be announce through UBC.ca and UBC social media channels.

Risk Management is working with partners across UBC to create other annexes to the Emergency Response Plan which will cover many risks that could affect campus operations and safety.