Last Thursday’s windstorm brought unprecedented damage to Salt Spring Island, and it will be weeks or even months before the resulting property losses are tallied.
The massive snowstorm of December 1996 may be remembered for bringing everything to a halt, and other storms have toppled trees all over the island, particularly due to the weight of heavy snow. But the wicked winds that came on Thursday were unlike past storms in terms of the volume of trees that fell due to wind alone.
Experts have in the past noted that dry summers combined with intense winter rains lead to more trees falling, meaning we can likely expect more such episodes in the future.
During emergency situations like the one experienced on Thursday, we are reminded of the dangerous work that our emergency responders and BC Hydro workers and contractors are engaged to do. Everyone is grateful that they are willing and trained to respond to emergencies and to restore a semblance of normalcy as soon as possible.
All of the work done by Salt Spring Island Emergency Program staff and its many volunteers also pays off during times of devastation. Emergency centres and POD systems were activated to ensure people were warm, fed and safe. Thursday’s events are a strong reminder that determining what POD one belongs to, registering and even volunteering in some capacity is the best way to create resilience for one’s self and the community. All of the necessary information is available on the emergency program’s website.
But as usual on Salt Spring, many kindnesses occurred between individuals, as those with means gave a hand to those who were trapped or frightened or hungry.
Coming as it did during the Christmas season, those acts of kindness and consideration were an especially poignant reminder of how fortunate we are to live in this community.
Let’s make a point of thanking those who put themselves on the line during and after the storm, and finding ways to help both ourselves and others in future emergency situations.