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July 21, 2021

Volunteers from the Comox Valley are working to assist evacuees who have been displaced from their homes by forest fires in BC’s Interior.

Emergency Management BC (EMBC) has requested Comox Valley Emergency Support Services to provide two weeks of online support for people who have been forced to flee their homes. Comox Valley volunteers will meet virtually with displaced residents to help them register with the program, and assist with finding vital resources, information and supports.

A provincial state of emergency was issued on July 20 in response to hundreds of wildfires burning in BC and an extended weather forecast for hot and dry conditions in the interior and southeastern parts of the province. Volunteers play an important role during these types of emergencies to uphold the physical, mental and emotional well-being of evacuees through the temporary delivery of resources and services.

“Generally our Emergency Support Services volunteers are recruited to provide support during local emergencies such as a fire, flood or earthquake. They may choose to be deployed to any area across BC,” explained Howie Siemens, Comox Valley Emergency Programs Coordinator. “Use of the EMBC online portal allows our volunteers to provide support across the province, virtually, right from home.”

Photo credit: Harley Shewfelt

Members of the Comox Valley team are dedicated, enthusiastic, caring and passionate volunteers, committed to helping community residents in the event of a disaster. These individuals are eager to be involved, support the community and help others in their time of need.

Volunteers receive training regularly on how to support both themselves and evacuees during emergencies and disasters. Those who have had the chance to volunteer in this capacity often report the experience as positive and life-changing.

“Our volunteers are dedicated to helping whenever and wherever needed. This can include disasters anywhere in the province due to shortages of personnel, or to relieve already exhausted volunteers,” said Siemens. “Our Comox Valley team will continue to provide this online support for as long as necessary and will respond if additional resources are requested by the province,” said Siemens.

Are you interested in volunteering your time to become a member of the Comox Valley Emergency Support Services team? For more information please call 250-334-8890 or email cvess@shaw.ca. More information about emergency services in the Comox Valley can be found at: www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/services/emergency-management.

The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.

Media Contact:

Howie Siemens
Emergency Programs Coordinator