The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is partnering with the Canadian Red Cross for the provision of local Emergency Support Services (ESS) in the region, which is a critical component of assisting residents displaced by fire, flood, earthquakes and other emergencies. The service delivery agreement was signed in late 2021 and the two parties are currently working together on the transition to the new structure that will see the Red Cross oversee the administration of the region’s local ESS.
“When floods, fires or other emergencies cause people to evacuate, our local Emergency Support Services volunteers are there to provide support and short-term assistance to anyone in the East Kootenay,” says RDEK Protective Services Manager, Fiona Dercole. “Our ESS teams are made up of local volunteers who have a desire to help when our communities need them most.”
The Red Cross oversees similar ESS programs for other local governments and has a wealth of experience in supporting people during disasters. “Entering into this new agreement will not only provide a strong, supportive management structure for our local ESS teams, it will also provide those volunteers with additional training and the opportunity to help in other communities should they desire,” adds Dercole.
“Volunteers are an integral part of the Emergency Support Services that will be provided by the Canadian Red Cross in the communities represented in the Regional District of East Kootenay,” says Alexis Kraig, Senior Manager for Emergency Operations, British Columbia and Yukon, Canadian Red Cross. “We look forward to welcoming ESS volunteers from across the East Kootenay to our diverse team of experienced emergency management responders across the province, and be ready to respond to the immediate needs of people impacted by an emergency or disaster.”
New volunteers are always welcome. A targeted recruitment campaign will soon be launched in communities where additional volunteers are currently needed, including Radium and Sparwood.
Anyone interested in learning more about the local ESS program, or how to become an ESS volunteer can contact Christina Carbrey at the RDEK or visit https://engage.rdek.bc.ca/ess.
Please join representatives from the Canadian Red Cross at a virtual information session on February 15 at 6:00 p.m. MT to learn more about volunteering in the East Kootenay as an ESS volunteer in your community. Register here.