08/27/2015 12:53 EDT | Updated 08/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Rescuers remember Katrina and pledge improved readiness in case of B.C. quake

VANCOUVER — An elite search and rescue team based in Vancouver is marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with plans to improve disaster readiness in British Columbia.

The Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team has announced plans for a major exercise next June on Vancouver Island.

The team will partner with provincial officials, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, the City of Port Alberni, its fire department and two First Nations for a magnitude 9.0-earthquake simulation.

The plan is to give members a chance to test their skills and practise working effectively with local agencies.

Vancouver rescuers were among hundreds of others that raced to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina claimed nearly 2,000 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. 

The team says its 120 members are reflecting on the devastation and deplorable conditions they saw in New Orleans a decade ago.

The Canadian Press