Disaster assistance team set up for district

The search is on for people in Greater Trail to staff the West Kootenay’s first personal disaster team.

You could say it was a disaster waiting to happen.

The search is on for people in Greater Trail to staff the West Kootenay’s first personal disaster team.

The Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and the Canadian Red Cross are looking to secure a half dozen volunteers to join the newly-formed Personal Disaster Assistance Team supporting electoral areas A and B, the villages of Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield and the City of Trail.

It also marks the first time the provincial Red Cross has partnered with a B.C. community to provide service for those first 72 hours of disaster response. The Red Cross was approached by the RDKB—the current disaster response managers—earlier this year to partner on a new program.

“To develop a more disaster resilient community by developing partnerships with other agencies … is a great way to build capacity in a community,” said Elysia Dempsey, community planning and response manager for the Red Cross in B.C. and the Yukon.

She lauded the initiative and foresight of the RDKB for the undertaking.

Working jointly with the RDKB and the Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Program, the Personal Disaster Assistance Team would provide assistance to community members experiencing personal disasters such as a house fire or flooding in the first 72-hours post-disaster.

For larger disasters, where more members of the community are affected, team members will work with the Red Cross and the Regional District to coordinate response activities to help those impacted.

As a result, the call has gone out for volunteers with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets to create the diverse team. Experience or an interest in emergency and disaster management, community development, counselling or social work is considered an asset.

Team members should be adaptable, said Dempsey, resourceful and able to handle changing and sometimes stressful environments.

“Team members should also be able to work non-traditional hours and be on-call,” she explained.

In collaboration with communities and local authorities, the Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Program offers a range of services that help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters of all scopes and sizes.

For more information or to submit an application, please contact Jodie Densmore at bcyukon.dmvolunteer@redcross.ca, or by phone at 250-491-8443, extension 206. Applicants are encouraged to apply before Oct.30.

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