This past weekend’s unusually warm temperatures, plus the early-season wildfires in B.C. and Alberta, are reminding us that now is the time to get prepared in case wildfire strikes our islands.
Emergency Preparedness Week ran last week, with the Salt Spring Emergency Program providing some key messages about how people can best be prepared in the case of natural disasters. Those include joining the Capital Regional District’s Public Alert Notification System, connecting with one’s neighbourhood POD program (or becoming a volunteer), making an emergency plan and building an emergency supplies kit.
Next week, on Thursday, May 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. everyone can join a virtual community roundtable for a discussion titled Salt Spring Island On Fire, where the island’s wildfire threat level is the topic. People can sign up via crd.bc.ca/ssi-emergency.
The FireSmart program is another important part of emergency preparedness. Property owners are encouraged to take advantage of a free service provided by Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue, where fire-safety tips are offered to help reduce wildfire damage to one’s home.
People can learn more about FireSmart directly from the fire department, or by attending the Saturday, May 27 Emergency Preparedness Fair at the Ganges Fire Hall, where personnel from the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program and other services will also be in attendance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Yet another emergency preparedness-related event is Transition Salt Spring’s June 1 webinar with forest ecologist Erik Piikkila about the importance of healthy forests in preventing wildfire and windstorm damage, as well as a June 4 walk led by Piikkila. An article on page 16 of this issue revisits the devastating December 2018 windstorm and includes Piikkila’s perspective on how damage from future storms or wildfires can be reduced.
Safe Boating Awareness Week provides another opportunity to learn about reducing one’s chance of experiencing life-changing catastrophes. Check out the Canadian Safe Boating Council website at csbc.ca or connect with the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Station 25 group, whose volunteers are saluted in this week’s issue of the paper, at rcmsar25.com.