Editorial: Find your POD
Not having information when you need it most can be frightening.
Racing around the internet refreshing multiple websites and asking your neighbours on Facebook for updates can be disconcerting and time consuming. Doing all of this while water is rushing over roads in a deluge like we saw on Nov. 15 is not ideal.
Luckily, for people living here there is already a tried and tested network of Salt Spring Islanders organized as the killer whales are into neighbourhood PODs. These groups put official information out to their neighbours as soon as they get it, and relay back up the chain what’s happening on the ground. PODs are also part of a radio system, in case telephone and internet communications go down.
If finding your POD inspired by cute orca families lulls you into a false sense of security, you can also remember the program as P.O.D. “Prepare or Die,” as some community members have dubbed it. Not much grey area there.
You can connect to your neighbourhood POD by private messaging the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program (SSIEP) on Facebook or emailing Ssidepc1@crd.bc.ca with your street address.
Social media is a great source for unverified observations. As an Isabella Point Road resident told us during the flooding, a local Facebook group (SSI Road & Ferry Report) provided information and solace as she observed the dramatic effect of heavy rainfall in her neighbourhood.
Another emergency information tool is Alertable, which you can add to your smartphones as an app or to your smart home devices as a skill. People can also sign up online for text, call or email alerts at alertable.ca.
As with all emergencies, information was an issue during the November rains. So we’ll also be eager to hear what comes out of a debrief officials will be having on the response.