If the big one struck in our area causing residents to be displaced from their homes that’s when Bob Dendoff and his team would be called to action.
Dendoff is the director for Oceanside Emergency Social Services/North RDN (OESS), a group of local volunteers who provide short term disaster relief by putting people in temporary shelters and providing basic needs like food, counseling, personal support and help finding loved ones.
Dendoff is a retired district welfare manager for the B.C. Ministry of Housing and Social Development, and through that ministry he first began providing emergency services in the 1970s.
That has carried on over the years and today Dendoff works with both the American and Canadian Red Cross, he’s on the provincial emergency mobile support team and he does the emergency preparedness workshops for the Regional District of Nanaimo.
“I’m quite involved with emergency management,” Dendoff said.
Emergency response is not for everybody, he said. It takes a special kind of talent to go into these situations and be able to help some very distraught people. But it’s part of who he is, he said.
“For me it’s that I can help people get better who are genuinely in need because of my background expertise. And that’s just the type of person I am,” he said. “And then I’m able to mentor fellow volunteers into doing the same type of work. It’s being selfless and giving of yourself freely I guess.”
Once they get the call from a community emergency co-odinator, Dendoff would call on his first string of volunteers.
For OESS, there are about 15 of them who would respond within the hour. There are about 50 or 60 people on the file to help out he said, but more volunteers are always needed.
“Anyone with a background or interest in working with people. We do pet care, we do people care, we do a lot of paper work…” he said, adding some of the positions people could fill are security, first aid, counseling and ham radio communicating.
Dendoff and his team at OESS will be participating in The Great BC Shake Out tomorrow at 10 a.m. It will take place during one of their regular meetings in Parksville and they will be dropping, covering and holding on, he said.
For more information on OESS visit the City of Parksville Website at www.city.parksville.bc.ca and click on Oceanside Emergency Social Services. To become a volunteer phone 250 954-3411 or e-mail: email@example.com.