Castlegar’s Emergency Support Services/Red Cross (ESS) team is looking for volunteers.
ESS director Deb Chmara, who has spent more than 50 years with the organization, says that some recent retirements have left vacancies in the organization that oversees support services for those needing to leave their homes due to emergencies.
In the last four months, the group has provided services for the Talbott Creek fire evacuation alert, the Crawford Bay and Broadwater Road floods and four house fires. Earlier this year, they also provided remote help with a fire in Squamish.
The Castlegar team is a little unique, with volunteers serving both the Red Cross and B.C. Government Emergency Support Services program.
The dual role allows for continuity between the first 72 hours after an evacuation where the provincial ESS program provides services and the continued services offered after that by the Red Cross.
“Our team is a good team, the volunteers are really committed,” said Chmara.
The biggest need is for case work volunteers — the people who meet with evacuees to determine what kind of supports are needed.
Chmara says volunteers need to understand that there will be training and expectations that must be met for both the ESS and Red Cross roles.
An orientation session will lay out just what volunteers can expect before they make a final decision and sign up.
Ideally the group would like to add at least six more team members and has a particular need for more male volunteers.
General duty volunteers are also needed to help with things like pet care, child care and administrative tasks.
If you are interested in getting involved, call the organization at 250-304-3194.