The Bow Horn Bay Fire Department has found a way to help community members by creating a system for those in isolation and in need of non-emergency help.
It works by hanging something either green, yellow or red in your largest window or at the end of your driveway.
Green means ‘I’m OK’; yellow means ‘I’m in need of supplies or food’; and red means ‘I need conversation’.
The idea is that community members will pick up on these and reach out to neighbours, as well as the department reaching out and connecting them with people who can help.
Fire Chief Clayton Bucoviz said the program has only been underway for two days, but people have already started reaching out.
“We are a more rural area to start with, we just want to make sure everyone has supplies and they’re OK and their mental health is OK,” he said. “It shows we’re still here for you.”
The signs have been hung up at local businesses and word has also been travelling person-to-person.
“Stores have called us to say that their customers think it’s a really great idea, which are local residents,” he said. “Small communities are great that way — everybody knows everybody in a roundabout way.”
Bucoviz said he’s spoken to one resident who called the department and needed to chat.
“They just wanted to talk to someone,” he said. “They just wanted to phone, say it’s nice that they’re able to talk to someone because they do feel a little bit isolated and lonely.”
Bucoviz also noted that there’s the Vancouver Island Crisis Line, which they’ve been sharing, as well as posting on their website. You can call the line at 1-888-494-3888 or text it at 1-250-800-3806 (6 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week), as well as the crisis chat website at www.vicrisis.ca (6 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week).