Sirens sound for healthcare

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Salt Spring’s emergency responders showed their appreciation for local health-care teams on April 2 with an impromptu parade and sound-off that came to a finale at Lady Minto Hospital at 1:30 p.m.

Community members in the know and workers at the hospital were impressed by the display of support, which involved Salt Spring RCMP detachment vehicles, Salt Spring Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance and Salt Spring Search and Rescue. 

Some community members who weren’t expecting the noise reported being alarmed and scared, however. With so many things to be worried about, the prospect of a major disaster happening in the midst of a health crisis caused added stress for a number of islanders already on edge.

Salt Spring RCMP Corp. Matthew Crist helped organize the event, which he said came together rather quickly so it wasn’t announced in advance.

“We certainly had no intention to startle anyone,” said Crist, who apologized if that was the case. “It was our wholehearted intention to just show our support for our health-care workers.” 

The slow-moving parade of intermingled response vehicles left from the RCMP station at Blain Road, travelled one block down Lower Ganges Road and then turned in to Crofton Road and the hospital. Crist said the organizers contacted the hospital in advance, as well as the staff at the Greenwoods and Braehaven residences. They decided on the 1:30 time after conferring with hospital staff, taking into account that more people are on shift during the daytime.

Salt Spring Fire Rescue member families had been working on a banner saying “thank you” to health-care workers so they brought it along to the event.

“We’re sort of following the example of other communities that have done this,” Crist said, noting many places are making noise at 7 p.m. to show their support. 

Some community members, including a contingent at nearby Brinkworthy Estates, have independently been making noise at the 7 p.m. time to show their appreciation. 

Pender Island residents initiated a “Pender Howl” at 7 p.m., both to connect with neighbours in isolation and to show support for essential service workers. 

BC Ferries joined in the exercise in past weeks by blasting the horn on Gulf Island ferries at 7 p.m.

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