Abstract & Bios

Communication Plans and the Importance of Building Relationships

Merrick Grieder, Emergency Telecommunications Coordinator – CVRD
Ian Foss, Director Search and Rescue – EMBC

Virtually every emergency response or exercise brings up challenges concerning communications. These issues can be technical in nature, operator error or often, a lack of preplanning and relationship building prior to incidents. Using commonly available tools, the presenters will detail steps to build a communications plan, build relationships and strengthen local, regional, and provincial communications. The tools and methods will also be applicable to business continuity planning in a business environment. With full participation, each attendee will be able to leave the session with a functional communications plan that is applicable for emergency operations centers or emergency responses. Put into practice right away, the communications plan will bring communities or organizations one-step closer to preparing for future events.

Merrick Grieder is the Emergency Telecommunications Coordinator for the Cowichan Valley Regional District and responsible for the radio network to support fire dispatch and life safety communications for 18 fire departments with 550 fire personnel. Merrick is also responsible for managing the regional emergency communications program and is Chair of the Mid Island Emergency Radio Coordinators, a group that looks at regional emergency communications from the Malahat to Port Hardy. Merrick holds a Diploma in Wireless Communications, a Certificate in Emergency Management and is a qualified SAR Manager and ESS Director in the Public Safety Lifeline program. Previous roles have included resource extraction, information technology, emergency management and radio communications, sometimes concurrently. When not thinking about public safety communications, Merrick attempts to catch fish and spends as much time as possible in his most important role as a husband and father of two.

Ian Foss, Director of Search and Rescue (SAR) Emergency Management BC. Prior to his current role, Ian was an EMBC as a Regional Manager on Vancouver Island for 3.5 years as well as working in most of the regions in a PREOC during activations. Ian’s current leadership position was launched as a Search and Rescue volunteer over 20 years ago. Ten years ago, Ian was still an active member of Golden SAR when he moved to the Victoria area and began his career with EMBC in the Emergency Coordination Centre. During his time with Golden SAR, he was a team leader, both in the field as a SAR Manager & administratively as president of the organization. Ian helped BCSARA with the development of the GSAR Field Handbook and participated in several high-profile rescues as a team member or the media liaison. Also, during this time as a volunteer, Ian instructed Swiftwater Rescue, Advanced First Aid, was a BC Adventure Smart Hug-a-Tree presenter and managed hundreds of tasks.

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