Jim MacDonald (centre)

Jim MacDonald (centre)

Chilliwack emergency response gets a boost

Chilliwack’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) Program received an $11,250 grant from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to assist with the purchase of two trailers that will help ESS volunteers better serve the city should a disaster or emergency occur. The grant from the AgriSpirit Fund, along with public donations, will help up to 150 evacuees or people needing immediate shelter, food and clothing.

Chilliwack’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) Program received an $11,250 grant from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to assist with the purchase of two trailers that will help ESS volunteers better serve the city should a disaster or emergency occur. The grant from the AgriSpirit Fund, along with public donations, will help up to 150 evacuees or people needing immediate shelter, food and clothing.

Each trailer is packed and prepared for response in an emergency situation. The trailers will carry 75 cots a-piece, as well as pillows, blankets, a reception desk for the required paperwork and signage, and First-Aid kits.

The cots are not the typical suspended canvas material, either.

ESS offers Kamp-Rite tent-cots. These cots are fully waterproof and can easily convert from a personalized tent into a lounge or upright chair.

The City of Chilliwack already had these cots in case of an emergency, but the method of deployment was slow and tedious until the trailers were purchased.

“We had a problem,” says Chilliwack Emergency Program co-ordinator Jim MacDonald. “We found that every time we were deploying, we were going to storage, throwing x number of cots into a van and driving off, unloading, driving off and getting more.”

“So we put everything in a trailer, and it makes all the sense in the world. We’ve got everything all in one box, so to speak… so it really allows us to set up anywhere, any time at all.”

MacDonald also plans to help other communities with the new trailers.

“This is a great asset and we’re going to use it infrequently, so let’s make it available to all the ESS crews throughout the upper Fraser Valley. This will be available to folks in Abbotsford, Agassiz, Hope, Harrison Hot Springs… because we can just simply hook it up, drive over and deploy.”

MacDonald’s application to the AgriSpirit Fund was chosen as one of 12 projects throughout B.C., from 919 applications across Canada.

“The City of Chilliwack would like to thank Farm Credit Canada for this emergency preparedness funding,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “These trailers will allow us to quickly deliver emergency support directly to those in need.”