It is late in the evening and a forest fire is moving towards town. Your family and your neighbours are quickly being evacuated. Everyone is safe for now, but you wonder how you will manage to take care of your family until it is safe to return home. You have no food, warm clothes, or place to stay, not even a toothbrush or food for the dog, and as you scrambled to leave your home, you neglected to grab your wallet. What now?
Disasters do strike. Are you prepared?
British Columbia has been spared from catastrophic disasters during the past century and a half, but we have experienced a number of significant disasters, the largest and most recent being the fires storms that took place during the summer of 2003. The interface fires of last summer destroyed over 334 homes, many businesses, and forced the evacuation of over 45,000 people.
Volunteers from across the province and the country were called down to assist in this disaster. Emergency Social Services (ESS) is one of the most important components of an emergency response plan. ESS services are those services required to preserve the health and well being of people affected by disasters, including responders.
In Kamloops, Kelowna, McLure/Barrier and other communities that were affected by the fires, ESS volunteers worked hand in hand with partner agencies to provide food, lodging, clothing, personal services and family reunification for the 45,000 evacuees and their pets. Reception centres were set up and staffed for the duration of this emergency.
ESS services are organized by volunteers who prepare for disasters in their communities by:
-identifying buildings suitable for use as emergency reception centres
-establishing agreements with local businesses and service organizations to assist when requested
– informing the public about where they can turn to receive disaster assistance, and
-developing an ESS plan, so that they are equipped to respond when disaster strikes.
We need to be prepared both personally and municipally, for a disaster.
On Friday, March 26th there will be an Introduction to ESS workshop held in Room 5 at the Community Centre at 7PM.
Saturday, March 27th at 7PM, Room 3, there will be Presentations on ?Personal Preparedness; be informed and personally prepared for a disaster?.
Sunday, March 28th, Room 4, there will be a Reception Centre Operations Course offered for anyone interested in being part of an ESS team.
Please contact Jerrilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 242-3778 for more information, or to register for Sunday?s workshop. Registration is free but we need to know how many are attending so we can prepare materials. Please register by March 15th.