Editorial: Prep time

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Another summer season is winding down.

Before we know it, we will be back to the dreaded winter months, with possible storms and power outages.

Last December’s windstorm and prolonged period of snow and cold in February were challenging for Gulf Islanders, to say the least. Everyone is hoping that the odds will be in our favour and that a far more benign winter will unfold this year.

The weather challenges of 2018-19 put the island’s emergency prep and response system to the test, and a series of debriefs identified its strengths and its weaknesses. Individuals also learned what they lacked and what they need in order to cope better in the future.

Salt Spring has a new Emergency Program team under the Capital Regional District umbrella. Brian Bogdanovich is the new coordinator, replacing long-time leader Elizabeth Zook. Bogdanovich is assisted by Candice Seagull and Derek Capitaine. One of their initiatives is a series of info sessions or workshops taking place between Aug. 24  and Nov. 9.

The first one, set for this Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the library, will be an overview of the current Salt Spring Emergency Program and its envisioned future. For anyone wondering how the program works, and how individuals can both contribute to and benefit from it, attendance at this event is recommended. Other subjects covered are FireSmart practices, use of ham and GMRS radios during an emergency, PTSD and critical incident stress management, communications during an emergency, earthquake risks and preparedness, and use of drones during catastrophes.

The island’s level of emergency preparedness and ability to cope with disaster really does  depend on individuals having the best information available then, and doing what they can to be prepared at home. Community wide, it also requires those with the time and means being willing to step up to assist others who may be less able to cope.

Now, not in the midst of a disaster, is the time to be working on emergency preparedness. Kudos to the Emergency Program for organizing the series of events for late summer and the fall, and to everyone who takes the time to attend and to be as prepared as possible for the next inevitable emergency situation.

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