LAKE BABINE NATION
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (EOC)
LOCATION: COUNCIL CHAMBERS
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE TEAM
In March 2020 lives changed when the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit the world. Dr. Henry announced that mass gatherings, family outings, concerts, all sporting events and all other major events were cancelled indefinitely.
The Corona Virus is a disease caused by the new virus that emerged in China in December 2019. Symptoms include: cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, unexplained loss of taste in smell, diarrhea, and headache. This virus can be severe, and in some cases cause death. It can be spread from person-to-person. There is no vaccine yet and there may not have one for approximately a year. Prevention involves washing your hands for 20 seconds, coughing into your arm, not touching your face, and staying home.
Bernard Patrick, Capital Infrastructure/Housing Director activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and developed a team from LBN staff. The following staff were part of the team until the fulltime crew was set: Marilyn Joseph-Williams, as EOC Finance but had prior plans with audit so Lori West had stepped in; Mary Lynn Crouse, was EOC Deputy Operations and was part of the team for a few weeks; Roxane Williams, assisted with EOC Deputy Planning for one week; Beatrice MacDonald, EOC Liasion Officer but had other commitments to her job with no replacement. Our current EOC team are the following:
- Bernard Patrick, EOC Director and his responsibilities include: considering policies, set expenditure limits, request outside support/resources, authorize “state of local emergency”, assist with public information, supervise the EOC team, and acknowledge contributions.
- Rick Dobbs, Capital Asset Officer was assigned to EOC Operations and EOC Risk Management. As Operations Rick maintains communications, participate in EOC action planning meetings, coordinate response, coordinate resource requests, share operational information, and manage the operations section. As Risk Manager Rick manages risks, ensure EOC safety, and ensure EOC security.
- Murphy Patrick Sr., Liaison Officer was assigned to the EOC Planning position who oversees the team’s overload, planning, and works closely with finance and logistics. Assess the situation, prepare EOC action plans, track resources, keep records, plan for EOC demobilization, anticipate future events, plan for recovery, coordinate technical specialists, manage the planning section and prepare after action report.
- VACANT, Information Officer was assigned as the EOC Media/Information position but has stepped down. Working alongside previous Information Officer was Petra West-Bayes who shared announcements from the Chief via Facebook Live Feed.
- VACANT, will be assigned EOC Finance. individual’s job includes recording personnel time, coordinate purchasing, coordinate compensation and claims, record costs, and manage the finance/administration section.
- Rose Johnny, Executive Director’s Assistant was assigned EOC Logistics to provide telecommunication and information technology services, support EOC operations, supply and equipment and material resources to sites, coordinate personnel, and manage the logistics section.
- Beatrice MacDonald, Human Resources (HR) manages of any HR issues, employee forms, and schedules for security, and in-house announcements regarding COVID-19.
- Tim Sheehan, LPN (Health Rep with Solutions RN) oversees the information flowing to and from the members and the EOC team. Tim relays information on COVID-19 from FNHA, BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC), Provincial and Federal Government and Health Canada to the Nation.
- Mark Power, Operations Manager assigned EOC contact for Tachet, and Vickie West, Operations Manager assigned EOC contact for Fort Babine.
The EOC Team works with the Health Department employees: Tim Sheehan, NR; Toby Rienhart, Nurse (FNHA); and Beatrice Michell, Language (Education). Both teams reviewed and discussed COVID-19 information packages and were delivered to the members door to door in all three communities and provided on LBN website. Violet Findlay, Lisa Mercer, and Irene Williams worked with the elders in the community, to check in and assist with any medical prescription needs. Beatrice Michell worked with staff and a few well known elders to create audio and video announcements in carrier translation.
The team immediately distributed notices door-to-door informing Tachet, Fort Babine, and Woyenne of the office closure. Following the closure, there were employees laid off. Staff in the EOC team were in office to run the Emergency Operations Centre. March 19, 2020 the EOC team was officially activated. Bernard searched for funding to run the operation and met with Emergency Management BC (EMBC) for coverage while running the operations centre. Funding was received from PGNAETA, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and FNHA.
The EOC team organized and set up security check points in each community. 18 security in Woyenne; 6 stationed in Tachet; and 6 stationed in Fort Babine, all working three different shifts. Dennis Crouse was hired Head Security to coordinate all of the security. A COVID-19 By-law was needed and to be enforced to keep all members safe. After lengthy discussions and reviews, the By-law was presented to Chief and Council for approval. After further review and advice from LBN’s lawyer, Dominique Nouvet, it was ready for the approval process. The COVID-19 By-law was approved, supported, and signed by Lake Babine Nation’s Chief and Council on March 27, 2020. It distributed door-to-door in each community and released on the LBN website.
A safety measure to protect our employees were to order Plexiglas guards from All West Glass for the gas station cashiers in Woyenne, Tachet, and Fort Babine communities.
To assist Elders and Single mothers in each community, the EOC provided a food hamper consisting of canned goods, meat, sanitizers, tissue and cleaning supplies. Items ordered and received were from the following companies: Grizzly Jim’s, Priestly Meats, Bulkley Valley Wholesale, Burns Lake Wholesale and Midway Purnell in Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, and Smithers. During the second week of May, the EOC team assembled the hampers and delivered to the Elders and Single Mothers in Tachet, Fort Babine, and Woyenne.
The EOC team developed a funeral protocol which was reviewed by the EOC team, health department, and chief and council. LBN’s lawyer, Dominique Nouvet, again assisted with the legal terminology for the protocol. May 4, 2020 the funeral protocol was approved and released on the LBN website. A copy was also provided to all the Directors.
Dr. Henry has re-opened British Columbia post May long weekend. LBN is now working on a plan for part of the essential staff returning, for this reason Plexiglas guards are on order for the reception areas of each administration and health buildings in Woyenne, Tachet, and Fort Babine. Social Distancing, direction, and warning signs will be provided for each entrances for the buildings.
The EOC team produce COVID-19 daily update for the staff and members when Dr. Henry completes her daily updates. The EOC team participated in a two day EMBC Training via Zoom in April and two days in May with Cam Challenger.
“We are changing and modifying the testing strategy. Random testing with people who have no symptoms is of very little value to us. Continue to wash your hands and don’t touch your face or eyes. 87 people confirmed with the dental conference in BC.”