Although they have retreated from the front pages, the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks in Japan continue to have an impact, including in Parksville’s Maple Glen neighbourhood.
Michelle Ashdown lives in that area and she said the tragedy made her and some of her neighbours think more seriously about getting prepared for trouble.
“We want people to know what to do,” she said. “After Japan, that prompted us to all start thinking about it.”
Ashdown and some of her friends from the now-defunct Maple Glen Garden Club, got some emergency kits together and then organized a neighbourhood meeting in an effort to get others to prepare.
“We met with the fire chief and he gave us a presentation,” she said. “We thought we would move forward and get street captains and a subdivision captain. We want to see how much feedback we get from the neighbourhood, get contact information and then organize another meeting.”
Having her neighbourhood organized, she said, could free up emergency personnel, something that could prove crucial in a tight situation.
“If every neighbourhood had street captains that could report to the fire hall to tell the chief that this area is OK, that means they can go to areas where it is not OK, instead of being spread out all over the place to check,” she said.
The area is also home to many emergency service workers, but Ashdown said people shouldn’t assume they’ll be sticking around close to home in the event of really serious trouble.
“Once they know their families are OK, they’ll probably be assigned somewhere to go,” she said.
She said the neighbourhood — a subdivision bounded by Hirst and Despard, James and Magnolia streets — contains many widows and elderly residents, who might need help in the event of an earthquake, major fire or other disaster.
She said she hopes to hold a neighbourhood meeting at the fire hall, when renovations there are completed, in order to see what skills her neighbours have that would be useful, who would be willing to volunteer as a block captain and who would likely need help.
“We want to identify the skills people can bring to us that could be of use in the case of an emergency,” she said. “We particularly want to tap into the retirement community.”
Anyone in the neighbourhood who would like to get involved can call 250-954-0628 or 250-248-2027.