A year in review: Our ESS Team consists of 28 active members who have been training all year in person and via ZOOM to be ready to help others during disasters.
At the beginning of the COVID outbreak, it quickly became apparent that we would not be able to access the same help we had in the past if there was a large fire event. All the cities and towns we would normally send people to were closed and did not want anyone from out of town.
This meant that our team really had to brainstorm for other ways to accommodate large numbers of people in the event of a sizeable evacuation. This past year there was more flooding than fires and the lack of anywhere to evacuate to was concerning us.
In 2020 we attended three fire events, helped with sandbagging, one apartment event, and continued training through the pandemic. We have learned how to use Personal Protective Equipment and changed how we interview and offer services to evacuees 24/7.
Our COVID-19 protocols have changed how we will be able to deal with larger events and where people will be able to go to receive services. We have purchased glass barriers for tables for any in-person meetings. We have reduced the number of volunteers present in a space, have PPE for volunteers and evacuees and secured access to tents in the event inside registration is not accessible.
Masks, social distancing and sanitizing are mandatory on-site for everyone and when interacting with volunteers.
We have continued to attend middle-of-the-night events and make sure the referrals are in place to whatever services are needed, including pets.
Our hotels are trained in COVID procedures and quarantine. The food and clothing suppliers have also been following regulations and devised new ways to help access groceries.
Through all this, it has not changed the dedication of the volunteers and their passion to help those in need.
As a director of the 100 Mile House and District Emergency Support Services, it is my honour to stand with you. I thank you for your strong support, sense of community, appetite for learning and helping others. You are amazing people, every one of you and I am proud of what we have accomplished together as a team.
As we enter a new year, 2021, let us stay strong, healthy and ready for anything. We wish you all a happy and safe New Year. My hat is off to you ESS Team.
ESS Director Liz Jones
Anyone who would like more information or to volunteer with ESS can call 250-644-0146 or email ESS@100milehouse.com.