Saturday May 28, 2011

Feature Story                                                                      


Bringing The Response To The Emergency

City of Chilliwack now has two "Mobile Group Lodging" trailers

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Jim MacDonald talks with Mike Hellinger from 98.3 Star Fm about the trailers which are now in service throughout the Upper Fraser Valley.



he next time there's a calamity, like the flood two-years ago in Greendale, where people were displaced from their homes, or in the event of a fire or some disaster, the City of Chilliwack wants to be ready to respond at the drop of a trailer hitch.


Farm Credit Canada (FCC) recently made an $11,500 grant to the City through their Agrispirit funding program, and the municipality wisely re-invested the money in two emergency response trailers which they've stocked with enough tent cots, blankets and first aid supplies for 150 evacuees.


With these new "Mobile Group Lodging" trailers, Emergency Social Services (ESS) will be able to quickly bring aid to where it's needed most and can set up beds in any nearby school gym or community hall.


The multi-purpose tent cots sell online for $169 USD are made by Kamp-rite and if used outdoors, the tent offers protection from the elements. The handy little beds         Vanessa Watmough (R) and Mayor Sharon Gaetz talk about

can also transform into chairs            the new trailers at City Hall Wednesday.

when not being slept in. The          

cots run about $169 USD each, and the City already had the cots they just lacked the delivery system without trailers.

The FCC grant is money well spent according to Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

"Should there ever be a disaster, we're ready, we're prepared," says Gaetz. "I hope we never have to use it, but it's here when we do.

Gaetz thanked the company for "believing in our community and helping us to be there when we said that we would."

FCC Customer Service Representative Vanessa Watmough, gave a little background on the company.

"FCC is Canada's leading agricultural lender and advancing the business of agriculture," said Watmough. "FCC provides financing, insurance software, learning programs and other business services to producers, agri-businesses and other food  operations."

Coun. Stewart McLean checks out a tent-cot for himself.  


"FCC is passionate about agriculture and committed to the success of the industry. We're deeply committed to our communities in rural Canada. Our community investments are a big part of that commitment also in both our financial contributions and our staff though their volunteering," she added.

Watmough said the evaluation committee was tasked with sifting through 919 applications and after going through them all designated 12 projects from various municipalities in BC who were the best matches for the allocated Agrispirit funds which ranged from $5000-$25,000.

"We're proud of the City of Chilliwack Fire Department Emergency Social Services for being the Agrispirit fund recipients and are impressed by your energy and enthusiasm for the project," says Watmough.

"It was easy to see that this project would significantly enhance the margin for services provided by the City of Chilliwack Fire Department and benefit the community for years to come. It's this spirit and passion that makes the City of Chilliwack a great place, congratulations."

Chilliwack Emergency Program Coordinator Jim MacDonald, told the Voice the trailers are "deployable right now" and can be put into service wherever and whenever they're needed in any municipality in the Upper Fraser Valley.

The cots aren't actually used until ESS has filled up the local hotels and motels in the area first.

"If the hotels are filled because of a long weekend, or because of a disaster you can't get to what would normally be a place of refuge."

There are pre-set designated spots people can go to in an emergency but ESS isn't saying so as not to cause confusion.

"We have sites that we have pre-selected, but we are reluctant to give out that information because we may be leading you down the garden path," explains MacDonald. "In the event of a flood situation, and those facilities were in the flood zone, not a great choice if it's a flood but a good choice if it's a snow storm or just a power outage, so we keep those facilities a little close to the chest and then release that information as needed," says MacDonald. "It's important for everyone to understand that when it comes to Emergency Social Services its a very small team here in Chilliwack who all volunteer and are not compensated whatsoever."

MacDonald said there is always a need for volunteers and that if people want to get involved in a that gives back immediately lauded a community-based service that give back immediately, then the ESS is for them.

If you are interested in getting your own tent cot visit here.

For more information about the City of Chilliwack Emergency Social Services visit here.

See more photos below.

Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice



















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