April 18 marks the end of Volunteer Appreciation Week and the Saanich Emergency Program is celebrating its 120 volunteers who support its programs throughout the year.
Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Social Services, Communications and Search and Rescue teams are supported by a small army of generous residents each year, said Dep. Fire Chief Frank Macdonald.
“Thankfully disasters and large scale emergencies are rare events here in Saanich,” he said. “To keep skills up to date and emergency response plans current, our volunteers are continually training and are ready to respond.”
Emergency Program volunteers provide emergency preparedness presentations, assist residents displaced by fires, participate in search and rescue operations and wilderness training exercises, and provide communications support to large public events.
“Saanich Emergency Program volunteers make an incredible contribution to our community. Volunteers not only help build our response capacity, they learn new skills and grow their relationships,” Macdonald said.
Saanich Emergency Program volunteer Terrance Berscheid is a perfect example of the greater impact of volunteering. Terrance gives countless hours to his community. He has volunteered with the Saanich Emergency Program since 2004 as a core member of both the Communications and Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program teams.
Since his first Emergency Preparedness presentation in October 2007 to the Tillicum Terrace Blockwatch group, Terrance has delivered an amazing 141 Emergency Program presentations to 2,601 people.
Volunteers have been an integral component of the Saanich Emergency Program since it was formed in 1963. Volunteering is the foundation much of British Columbia’s major emergency response capacity is built upon. Approximately 13,000 people across the province volunteer their time and expertise preparing for and responding to emergency situations.
Discover more information about Saanich’s Emergency Program online at saanich.ca/sep.