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Vancouver designates 25 support hubs in case the ‘Big One’ strikes

WATCH: Vancouver is hoping to make it easier for residents to figure out where to head in the event of a natural disaster. It's now finished installing signs at all 25 of its disaster support hubs. Jill Bennett explains what they are and how they'll help if there's an earthquake or tsunami.

Do you know where to go in case of an earthquake?

To make it easier for Vancouverites to get around when disaster strikes, city authorities have now installed Disaster Support Hub signs at 25 locations throughout the city.

The signs indicate sites where people can gather following an earthquake.

The locations were designated as places where residents can meet their family members, coordinate a community response and share information, resources and supplies.

The city officials will also prioritize delivering post-disaster support services for all types of emergencies at the 25 designated locations.

Each site is identified with yellow signs.

Scientists agree Vancouver is due for the ‘Big One’ and both the province and the city have been increasing earthquake preparedness.

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The city says residents will have to be self-reliant and organize themselves in the hours and days after an earthquake while emergency crews handle high-priority incidents.

The 25 sites were chosen because they are at or near locations where people can gather safely outside if facilities are damaged, according to the city.

Click here to see the printable map of the 25 disaster support hubs around the city.

Diaster Support Hubs in the city of Vancouver

Director of Emergency Management Daniel Stevens says Vancouver is the first city on the Lower Mainland to adapt the system of disaster support hubs.

Stevens says similar community-led response initiatives are already in place in Seattle and San Francisco.

In selecting the 25 locations for the hubs, Stevens says they wanted to make sure most of the city would be covered.

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“We were looking at locations that the public already knows about, so community centres were a good starting point,” Stevens said. “There were a couple of gaps that existed, so we also [included] Oppenheimer Park and the Fraserview Branch of the Vancouver Public Library.”

Global News has learned that 18 of the 25 structures at the designated locations are more than 36 years old, with the oldest building —  Sunset Community Centre at 6810 Main Street — being 71 years old.

Stevens agrees seismic safety of the hubs is an important consideration.

“We absolutely want any of these buildings inspected before we invite the public in,” he said. “These sites are on our priority list of inspections.”

For more information on Disaster Support Hubs, how to prepare an emergency kit, what to include in an emergency plan and how to sign up for an emergency preparedness workshop, go here.