Community Papers

Emergency responders pitch safety first

         Colwood volunteer firefighter Josh Pettigrew guides Mikayla Hughes, 6, in trying out a fire hose, while sister Gabrielle, 4, patiently waits her turn. The siblings from Deep Cove were enjoying the Emergency Preparedness Fair at West Shore Parks and Recreation. - Don Descoteau/News staff
Colwood volunteer firefighter Josh Pettigrew guides Mikayla Hughes, 6, in trying out a fire hose, while sister Gabrielle, 4, patiently waits her turn. The siblings from Deep Cove were enjoying the Emergency Preparedness Fair at West Shore Parks and Recreation.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

With inclement weather keeping the public away for the most part, members of emergency response teams from around the Capital Region were largely left to entertain each other Sunday at West Shore Parks and Recreation.

The annual Emergency Preparedness Fair, which showcases the work and abilities of emergency responders and their various support organizations, saw firefighters and rescue personnel from West Shore departments mingle with land search and rescue and marine rescue personnel from Sooke to Sidney in the upper parking lot.

The seventh annual fair focused on safety and the four pillars of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

It also helped kick off national Emergency Preparedness Week, which is being marked by municipalities across the region and country through Saturday.

Inside the much dryer Juan de Fuca 55-Plus Activity Centre nearby, Ruth Reynolds sat in a mostly deserted mock registration centre. The director of Colwood and View Royal’s joint emergency support services program talked about the slow, but steady progress being made in residents’ disaster preparedness.

“We find more and more that people say, ‘Oh I’ve got that,” when we offer them information,” she said.

A major influence on people, in terms of getting them thinking about what they need, is their school-aged children, Reynolds added.

“The reason we don’t smoke is because of our kids. The reason we recycle is because of our kids. And it’s the kids who tell us about how to get out when there’s a fire. If we can get the kids involved (in emergency preparedness), we’ve got it made,” she said.

“And a few little earthquakes help, too.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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