Most of us are fortunate enough to never need the skills of Chilliwack’s emergency response teams.
But when we do, it’s good to know they’re there.
Just before noon on Wednesday the Chilliwack Progress had reason to call on that expertise.
The incident turned out to be relatively minor, but that didn’t stop fire, ambulance and police from responding with a degree of professionalism that was truly impressive.
As a news organization, our staff is often in contact with emergency crews. (Usually trying to stay out of their way while we’re on scene at an incident, or pestering them for information later.)
Yesterday, we were on the other end.
What initially smelled like a campfire, turned into something more serious in a hurry. Within seconds the newsroom was filled with smoke.
The building was evacuated and the call to 911 made.
Past fire drills helped keep the process orderly, but there was concern. Wednesday is a deadline day for our Thursday publication and every lost minute is important.
Within minutes fire crews were on scene, asking questions and assessing the situation. But they weren’t alone. Paramedics were also there, providing standby support in case of any injuries. An RCMP member was there as well.
The cause of the smoke turned out to be a burned out transformer in a roof top air conditioning unit. Once the problem was identified, and the offending unit disconnected, staff were able to return to their work.
But we went back with a better appreciation for the resources that are brought to bear when even a minor incident occurs in Chilliwack.
The smell of smoke will linger in our office for a while still. But lasting much longer will be the gratitude for the quiet professionalism displayed by Chilliwack’s emergency responders.