Letter to the Editor

Peace Region Blizzard

While the rescue of 47 people during the January 9 and 10 blizzard event around the Braden, Mason and Sweetwater Roads in the Peace River Regional District is a dramatic story, there is a bigger story that needs to be told.

The successful rescue of these individuals was the result of the coordinated efforts of many people working with many different organizations. While these people will tell you they were simply doing their jobs, their work is heroic and should be recognized.

There are the employees with Caribou Road Services, the RCMP, BC Ambulance Service and North Peace and South Peace Search and Rescue volunteers who risked their lives in white out conditions to reach those who were stranded. And, there are the many people who worked behind the scenes to coordinate the rescue efforts, the Ministry of Transportation, Provincial Emergency Program staff in Prince George and Victoria, Northern Health, the Farmington Community Association, Ministry of Forests, B.C. Hydro, School District 59 and Peace River Regional District.

The efforts of the provincial government?s Public Affairs Bureau and local media needs to be recognized for the work they did to ensure those stranded motorists and the public was kept informed of rescue efforts during this event.

It is also important to note that offers of help came from the community at large including farmers, ranchers, contractors an industry alike. With the larger organizations and volunteers help, the community pulled together when other?s lives were in peril to keep everyone safe.

While our communities were fortunate enough to have escaped without fatalities during this incident, this event should serve to remind everyone of the importance of being prepared for an emergency. This might include emergency kits for your vehicle, your house and the work place. Families should consider having an emergency plan should you and your loved ones become separated. Remember, we all have a responsibility to be as self sufficient as possible in the event of emergencies, it all starts with you. Good links to emergency preparedness can be found on the PEP website such as www.pep.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/Personal_Safety.html . A number of these volunteer response groups work within the Peace River Regional District which includes Search and Rescue (SAR), Emergency Social Services (ESS) and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). If you are thinking of volunteering, give one of the above a call today or contact the Kwanis Enterprise Centre 782-9325.

Ron Storie, Emergency Program Coordinator,

Peace River Regional District