Meet the Mayor
July 30, 2014
We have had quite enough of alerts, evacuation notices, and smoke in our noses due to wild fires in the area. Quite enough! I have heard people interviewed on the radio who have no idea of what to do in an emergency, or who is in charge when the circumstances get out of the norm. I understand that some people even think that we are unprepared for emergencies. I assure you that Chetwynd’s emergency response procedures are well in place, well understood, and well directed by competent officials.
This is not to say that a dangerous event will not damage us. It could. But our response procedures are in place and our response team is prepared to act to minimize the damage.
Though the adrenaline may rush, none of us likes an emergency that threatens life or property like a wild fire can.
The best response for those of us who live within Chetwynd and immediate areas is to have personal or family response procedures and supply kits ready. Keep a supply of the basic necessities such as water, food, and clothes ready to go with you. Imagine a worst-case scenario in which all access to the area is cut off for a week or so. You don`t want to go hungry, thirsty, cold. As an intelligent human being you should know what to do in advance and take intelligent steps to protect yourself and your family.
But these monstrous events are highly unlikely. More likely is the wild fire or the flood that drives you temporarily from your home to a public shelter. Who is in charge of response to these events?
It is not happenstance, good luck, or smiling fortune that will keep us safe and warm (or cool) during these disruptions. The District of Chetwynd (and the Peace River Regional District for those who live out of town) has well-established and proven procedures for responding to emergencies. And we have the personnel in place who know what to do and how to organize the community for effective response.
Within the District of Chetwynd, Fire Chief Leo Sabulsky is the official in charge of ensuring a safe and orderly response to an emergency. He has trained thoroughly in emergency response and has in turn trained cool and level-headed people to assist in the emergency.
In addition, links with police, ambulance, hospital, provincial government authorities, and even your local government are all established for smooth operation.
During the recent fire west of Moberly Lake the process was rapidly put in place to receive evacuees from Moberly Lake and Hudson’s Hope if evacuation became necessary. Chetwynd was ready to house and care for the evacuees.
Happily evacuation of Moberly was not required and Hudson’s Hope evacuees were directed to Fort St. John because smoke rendered the road between Moberly and Hudson’s Hope dangerous. But Chetwynd was ready to receive and care for all persons who could have been displaced by the fire. Thanks, Chetwynd.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor