A screenshot from a video about Emergency Social Services volunteer work, prepared by the Justice Institute of B.C. The District of Hope is asking individuals to consider joining their ESS volunteer ranks.

Fraser Valley Regional District puts call out for emergency volunteers

Now is the time to get trained as a volunteer, and to register heavy equipment

The fire situation across the province has highlighted the importance of having trained emergency volunteers at the ready.

The Fraser Valley Regional Distirct is hoping that the situation will encourage residents here to consider applying to be one of those volunteers.

“The devastating wildfire activity currently ravaging parts of B.C. has served as a reminder of how important ESS (Emergency Support Services) volunteers are in our communities,” they wrote on their website. “This is now the opportunity for those with previous experience who have been thinking of joining the FVRD ESS team to come on board.”

They are also encouraging those with no experience to check out their website through the Fraser Valley Regional District (www.fvrd.ca).

It’s important for municipalities and regional districts to have their emergency contact list ready prior to any emergencies, so that more time can be spent responding in the moment. And that goes for keeping a catalogue of who has equipment and other resources they would offer to the district.

FVRD says that “during an emergency event, different types of resources are always needed. Whether you have an excavator or camping equipment that you are willing to volunteer during these times, it may prove to be very useful within your community.”

Those wishing to register their equipment can do so by emailing csquires@fvrd.ca.

Volunteer applications are also available online, as well as a video showing a better idea of what volunteering entails.

Volunteers could end up doing any number of tasks during an emergency, from helping people find shelter and food, recruiting more volunteers, and supporting other emergency responders.

“ESS volunteers not only help during an emergency event but they are integral in the planning of the wellbeing of their neighbours and fellow citizens,” the District website states. “ESS volunteers receive ongoing training through various instructions seminars and exercises. As part of our ESS team you will help with ensuring the responsibilities of the FVRD Emergency Services for our communities are met.”

Teams of ESS volunteers are activated to provide evacuees with essential services including food, clothing, lodging, and emotional support for up to 72 hours.

ESS Volunteers receive ongoing training through various instruction seminars and exercises. Seminars include topics such as group lodging, reception centre training, worker wellness, post-disaster pet care, and resource acquisition to name a few.