Hansi Bhagwanani (centre), alongside Octavia Jones-Elliott (left), and Dave Burns are one of many volunteers with the Red Cross, who have been deployed to B.C.’s Interior to help wildfire evacuees. (File photo)

City of Victoria teams up with Canadian Red Cross for emergency preparedness volunteer opportunities

A specialized bicycle team and emergency social services are needed

The City of Victoria and the Canadian Red Cross are teaming up to host a specialty volunteer fair for emergency preparedness teams.

On Tuesday, March 26 City Hall will host a two-hour special to inform the public about volunteering with Victoria’s new Emergency Social Services (ESS) and Cyclist Response Teams (CRT).

For the first time in the Capital Region, a municipality has partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to deliver these measures.

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Volunteers will be trained to provide assistance in the first 72 hours following an emergency such as a fire, flood or earthquake. The services could include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, supplying information about the crisis, and family reunification.

ESS will have two types of responders: Personal Disaster Assistance (PDA) and Emergency Response Team (ERT).

The PDA portion helps assess the needs of clients in a disaster, and will help provide relief and referral services.

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The ERT responders are responsible for many emergency shelter and reception centre activities, as well as working with developing emergency preparedness plans and kits.

The CRT will be trained to access more areas in an emergency, especially following an earthquake when roads, pathways or bridges might not be possible to vehicles. The cyclists would help move people, or transport information and materials. CRT members will be trained in bicycle trailering, maintenance and repair, first aid, radio communications, wayfinding and rapid damage assessment. These kinds of cyclists have helped in international emergencies, including in the 2017 Mexico City earthquake.

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Candidates need to be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s licence and undergo a successful Canadian criminal record check, with vulnerable sector screening. First Aid certification is required, but will be provided through training, free of charge.

The Volunteer Fair will happen at Victoria City Hall on March 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

To learn more you can visit victoriaready.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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