The human side of disaster relief

Interested in helping? Meetings today at 1:30 and 7 p.m.

When a major earthquake strikes this region — the experts say it’s not a question of if — we assume the first responders (fire, police, ambulance) will help, but Oceanside Emergency Support Services will also be there, if they have enough volunteers.

“We’re always looking for volunteers — we get a regular turnover,” said ESS member Tom Williams.

After the initial shock of any major disaster, it is the ESS team that coordinates the human side of disaster relief in the initial hours and days.

About 20 members work closely with local governments and other emergency services, covering all of District 69.

Williams said he’d really like to have more like 75 people. In a large regional incident like an earthquake, they would set up multiple reception centres with eight or 10 volunteers at each, which would quickly overwhelm their members if it lasted longer than a single shift.

Along with short term disaster relief they help plan and provide other essential needs like food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and help finding loved ones.

Throughout the year, volunteers also inform the public about the program, identify and plan for reception centres, recruit and train other volunteers and work on emergency plans.

No specific skills are required, but experience in things like volunteer management, interviewing and second languages would be particularly useful, Williams said.

ESS volunteers have access to valuable training and receive Workers’ Compensation Board and liability insurance coverage while on assignment.

Oceanside Emergency Social Services is hosting public meetings Tuesday, Dec. 4 (today) to show people what they do and encourage people to join.

The meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Parksville fire hall and repeated at 7 p.m. at the Qualicum Beach hall to give people options for different times.

 

For more contact Williams at oess@shaw.ca or 250-954-3411.

 

 

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach versus Parksville – who wins?

Councils could take part in first-ever lawn bowling challenge

Ballenas grad to perform opera and art songs in Parksville to fund Prague trip

UBC music student Juliana Cook was asked to study and sing in the Czech Republic

Ravensong Waterdancers to get you in sync

Teams will perform 12 routines at watershow on April 28

Soccer Whalers trip 49ers 1-0 in high school clash

Ballenas now prepares for North Island championships

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

Party with extreme views on immigration running on Vancouver Island

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read