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Red Cross shows off new equipment washer
Castlegar's Red Cross office held an open house on Feb. 1 to show off their building and in particular their new equipment washer.
"We had an open house to celebrate the bring in of our wonderful Hubscrub and showing off how we've been able to re-configure our space by going vertical," said Liza Soukoroff, program assistant for the equipment loan program for the Red Cross. "With the shelving, it's really improved our capacity to handle equipment and meeting the needs of the clients we serve. These improvements have made life much easier for the volunteers to do the job needed to keep this program running efficiently."
The Red Cross office in Castlegar loans equipment to people throughout the area.
"We made basic health equipment available to individuals at no charge," she said. "We have basic health equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, commodes, bath seats, that kind of equipment. They get a referral from their health care professional, whether it is a doctor or occupation therapist or physiotherapist. We need that in place to be able to loan the equipment. We need to make sure the person is getting the right equipment for their needs."
The loan equipment program is run by volunteers, says Soukoroff. The Castlegar location is open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday to Friday excluding statutory holidays.
"In this location we not only loan the equipment, but Castlegar is considered a hub for the West Kootenay/Boundary area," she said. "What that entails is that we receive equipment from outlying depots that needs cleaning and disinfecting, maintenance checks, and major repairs as well."
To make cleaning and disinfecting easier and more cost effective, the Red Cross has purchased a Hubscrub equipment washer.
"This is our new baby," said Soukoroff. "This is called a Hubscrub. It's an automated equipment washer. With this we are able to load equipment in here, run it through the cycle, which cleans it, then it has a disinfectant setting. The spray is able to penetrate every area of the equipment so that ensures client safety by preventing any disease transmission or anything like that."
Soukoroff said that prior to receiving the machine, volunteers had to do all cleaning themselves by hand in a wash bay.
"Every piece of equipment that would come in here would be washed by hand and that's very labour intensive," she said. "With the Hubscrub now we can be sure that our quality assurance is being taken care of because of the disinfectant process."
The Hubscrub, which costs about $14,000, was made available due to the generosity of local groups such as Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Effected Areas, Castlegar Hospital Auxiliary, Nelson Friends of Elders in Care, and Zellstoff Celgar.
"The community has been outstanding in supporting this program," said Soukoroff. "They really stepped up."
Although the local Red Cross has some great volunteers, Soukoroff says they could use more.
"We do need volunteers. We have positions open in client service, for cleaning and disinfecting and doing maintenance checks, repair personnel and drivers," she said. "We also need an office person with data entry skills."
Anyone interested can phone the Red Cross office in Castlegar at 250-365-6242 or visit the office located in the Kinnaird Community Church building at 1250A 26th Street.