Over the last few years, many British Columbians have experienced significant disasters such as wildfires, flooding and landslides. It is crucial that we prepare our volunteers, the NESST conference provides multiple training and exercise opportunities. In Northern British Columbia, our municipalities are spread out. In order to bring volunteers together for training, we decided it would be more efficient to have a larger event that brought everyone together. By doing this we can provide multiple learning opportunities.
The Northern Emergency Support Services Training (NESST) Conference hosted its inaugural event in 2013 in Burns Lake with 50 volunteers attending. This number has grown every year, and in 2019 we hosted the 7th Annual NESST Conference in Prince George with 209 volunteers attending. During the last 8 years of the annual NESST conference, this conference has grown to become an unparalleled platform through which Emergency Support Services volunteers, emergency management personnel, First Nations representatives, and emergency response organizations have the opportunity to build connections and share knowledge of how to work together during a disaster in a way that is respectful, supportive and collaborative.
This conference has been primarily funded by the generous support of our community organizations and corporations. In an effort to continue to keep attendance low for the volunteers who attend every year, the NESST Organizing Committee, made up of Emergency Support Services leaders from across Northern BC, continues to reach out to for help with funding the conference events.