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Digging Into the Details of Disaster Prep

ESS Director clarifies services available in an emergency



Last week's Emergency Services meeting was intended to shed light on the measures local groups are taking for emergency preparedness in the community. Informational handouts from that event are available online HERE. Since then, Emergency Support Services (ESS) director Mary Brown has contacted The Watershed to offer further details of the role of ESS during a local emergency.


Brown clarifies that ESS can offer provincial money to individuals and families after a needs assessment has been conducted by ESS volunteers, if it is determined that they have no or limited means to avail themselves of food, lodging and incidentals like toiletries and medicines for a period of 72 hours. Payment is provided as a direct deposit to their banks (the preferred method) or via vouchers that can be taken to specific vendors.


She says that if the individual or family has home insurance but can not access payment from their insurers in a timely fashion, the Village of Lions Bay has provided ESS with prepaid Visa cards to help bridge the time between evacuation and insurance payout. The needs are assessed on a case by case basis, to a maximum of $150. Brown notes that this is outside the provincial management system and is a grant from the Village to residents who are in short term need.


While group lodging is generally within the purview of ESS, Brown says staffing issues mean Lions Bay ESS is unable to set up a group lodging venue at this time. In order to provide group lodging:

  • both male and female trained staff (with criminal record checks for working with vulnerable populations) are needed to supervise, in eight hour shifts for a minimum of 72 hours.

  • workers must be paired for safety reasons.

  • a minimum of six male and six female trained personnel per 24 hour period would be required.


This is beyond the scope of Lions Bay ESS at present.


Brown says the province is moving to a billeting system, where evacuees are billeted as close to their homes as is safe and possible. Volunteers accommodating billets are paid a stipend by the provincial government.


If the Village finds itself in a circumstance where there are more evacuees than billets, (for instance, if there are stranded travellers from the highway) Lions Bay ESS would have to call upon the larger resources of the Red Cross.


Click HERE for more details about ESS in the community.


Have thoughts to share? Leave your comment below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca

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