Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator for the Strathcona Emergency Program, is looking for help again.
This time, however, he’s not looking for volunteers to help run a mock emergency exercise or people to sign up to become HAM radio operators. He’s looking for people who have access to heavy equipment – cranes, road graders, etc. – along with those who have communications equipment, pumps, generators, shovels, chainsaws or anything else that might be of help should a major disaster befall the region.
During large-scale emergencies, municipal Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs) may require “specialized resources to support response and lifesaving activities,” Koopman says, so he’s looking to compile a thorough list of what’s out there in the community that he and his team could possibly call on if something huge goes down.
“If I suddenly need 12 backhoes, five pump trucks and a dozen raccoons at 2 a.m. do I have a list of organizations that will provide those things?” he says. “I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Maybe there’s a youth group with a small bus I don’t know about. We never know what we’re going to need or the order we’re going to need to call people, but I need to have a list of what’s out there.”
But he’s not going to ask for it for free.
The idea is that if you’ve got things on the list of available resources, and Koopman needs to call you, it’s because the government wants to rent them from you.
“The cost of responding to the type of emergency we’re talking about is covered by the province,” Koopman says. “So we pay for it outright and as long as we keep our receipts, we get reimbursed. I would rather do as much of this type of business as I can locally.”
Koopman also wants to remind everyone that he’s always available to put on workshops for your group or organization to help you in your emergency planning.
“I’m always happy to come to where you are and have a look at what your plan is and talk about what you could maybe be doing a bit better,” Koopman says.
And he thinks that’s especially important for organizations who deal with vulnerable populations.
“Those organizations that work with special needs or other vulnerable people – seniors, for example – really have unique challenges that I would be happy to help them address. It would benefit not only them in terms of reviewing their plan and talking about different options and what should be components of their plan, but also for my benefit, as well. Knowing what these organizations offer the populations they’re working with, the times that they offer those services, it all becomes critical knowledge if something happens.”
So if you have a piece of heavy machinery or anything else you think could be of use to Koopman and his team’s efforts should something big go down – or would like him to come speak with your organization about emergency planning – get in touch with him at email@example.com or 250-830-6702.