The Cariboo Regional District will provide a grant in aid to the Charlotte Lake Landowners and Leaseholders Association to purchase an AED. (Anne Kohut photo)

Remote Charlotte Lake residents prepare for medical emergencies

Many of the local residents are elderly, said landholders association president Anne Kohut

A remote community in the Chilcotin will be getting an AED (automated external defibrillator) machine thanks to support from the Cariboo Regional District.

During its regular meeting Friday, Jan. 15 the CRD board voted in favour of a $1,000 grant for assistance request from the Charlotte Lake Landowners and Leaseholders Association.

Anne Kohut has been a permanent resident of Charlotte Lake since 2007 and is the president of the association, as well as a school trustee for School District 27.

“The community is one hour away from the nearest nursing station and due to road conditions it takes approximately 1.5 hours for the ambulance from Anahim to arrive,” she told the Tribune.

Kohut said two permanent residents have agreed to maintain the AED and be on call in an emergency until help arrives.

In addition to full-time residents, the population increases to five times with seasonal residents.

When asked how they communicate with one another, Kohut said permanent residents have e-mail and Internet phones as well as hand-held radios.

“The distance between us is too great for tin cans and a long string,” she added jokingly.

Luckily, she said, there have not been any recent incidents requiring an AED but after taking a first aid course last month, one of the local residents suggested the association acquire an AED since the population has ‘a lot of elderly’ people.

Read more: Meet SD27 zone 7 trustee candidate Anne Kohut

“It’s a long way in and you’re not going to get medical help quickly,” said Area G director Al Richmond during the meeting as he spoke in favour of awarding the grant.

Chair Margo Wagner said the population of the area has been growing and Area L director Willow Macdonald said it is an emerging issue.

“People are moving in, staying home and not leaving due to COVID-19,” Macdonald said.

Living remote probably has its challenges, but Kohut said the lake water is crystal clear and drinkable and usually freezes over in December. When she looks out she sees snow-capped mountains, cerulean blue skies dotted with white, puffy clouds.

Sunrises and sunsets are often spectacular, she added.

“In the winter season it is hushed and quite and snowflakes can be heard falling.”

Read more: Charlotte Lake fuel management project completed

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