In her 25 years answering emergency calls at VicPD’s 911 centre during the holiday season, Theresa Lundy has seen the worst of the Christmas spirit.
“We get the occasional turkey through the window incident, and there was a domestic where a Christmas tree ended up in the front yard,” says Lundy. “But it tends to be quite quiet on Christmas Day.”
Lundy and her colleagues are just a few of the hundreds of people across Greater Victoria who work through Christmas to be ready for any emergency.
“You always want to prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” Lundy says. “We have the same amount of staff on Christmas Day as we would any other day.”
Canadian Forces members at CFB Esquimalt are no exception, working regular shifts to deal with emergency search and rescue operations or deal with marine and flying incidents.
Navy crews also keep watch with a ship ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, while crews from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at Comox remain on standby to launch Cormorant helicopters and Buffalo aircraft off the coast of Vancouver Island and as far as the Yukon.
“It is a holiday, and a time where people would perhaps prefer to be at home with their families, but it’s no issue for anybody that works here to come in for Christmas Day or any other holiday.” said Paul Hodge, Officer in Command of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria. “We’re more concerned with the safety of the general public. We’re always there to help.”
Lundy says the work done by all emergency responders, from fire crews to B.C. Ambulance paramedics to Canadian Forces, is part of the job, something employees take pride in regardless of any disappointment about working on a holiday.
“It is one day of the year. We’re in a public safety position, and we all get that. We love our families just as much as everybody else. Our Christmas may not be on the 25th, but we always get one.”