Last Friday’s jet fuel spill in the Slocan Valley reminds us how important crisis communications are to those involved in the transportation of dangerous goods.
It also serves to remind us that often in a crisis, there is simply no time to do everything perfectly on all fronts, to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
Responding agencies simply do the best they can to ensure public safety.
With an incident such as this, emergency responders have one goal: getting anyone who may be in harm’s way, out. Hence the reason evacuation orders were issued, then expanded.
The RCMP took the precaution of closing highway 6 and the Regional District of Central Kootenay declared a local state of emergency.
Some have said none of this happened as fast as it should have. Others say potable water and websites created to provide residents with information were not created fast enough or did not contain enough information.
The company involved in the spill sent crews to the site quickly and worked to provide factual information to media sources as they became aware of it. The RDCK, Ministry of Environment, Interior Health and others did likewise.
Many crews spent a long night knocking on doors, issuing notices and answering a barrage of questions they may not have had answers to.
They deserve a thank-you.
In the end, we’re glad the driver sustained only minor injuries and there was no loss of life.