Preparedness depends on you, and you, and you

By Campbell McClusky

Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness (PREP) is made up entirely of volunteers and has limited local financial resources. PREP is dependent upon fundraising events and member dues. It needs your help.

Previous emergency training not required, as needed training can be provided. There were 44 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers certified here at the Point at one time, but many have moved on or not maintained their certifications.

Some of the key “energizers” over the years have moved away; it is time for new neighbors to step up to PREP’s “neighbors helping neighbors” programs.

Come to the PREP annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. at the Point Roberts Community Center. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re available to volunteer or not.

Get a sense of what we are about, what we’re looking to achieve and how to be best prepared. Keep in mind that we, both long-term and short-term residents, may be “all we’ve got” here on this exclave when an emergency occurs.

Come have a say as to how we could and should help each other when an emergency strikes. All who come and sign the attendance sheet become full voting members. Your say, your vote and, most importantly, your participation will count!

Our monthly meetings will let you see who is doing what and how our leadership is coping with our limited cadre. Attending the AGM will also give you the opportunity to point out what you think we should be doing or doing more of.

Then too, you could meet or become part of existing volunteers currently set to focus on emergency shelters. Sheltering training and additional shelter equipment is being offered. The Point and PREP have already identified two potential shelters – the community center and Trinity Church – to supplement the emergency cots and mats that the fire department keeps available for use.

The upcoming sheltering training is designed to enable all-weather emergency enclosures to be erected by PREP and CERT and other volunteers wherever and whenever needed – equipped with items from cots to stoves to sanitary facilities.

The more of us who gain some sheltering familiarity, the more effectively the fire department, its cadre of volunteer firefighters and assorted PREP volunteers, will be able to cope with coordinating the full scope of rescue and relief urgencies.

Whatever mother nature throws at us, many neighborhoods have already assessed who will need special help and which homes may be especially well suited for local collection and coordination points.

It will be helpful to know how many live where, and what skills the neighborhood residents may already possess. “Mapping” the neighborhood is an initial step each neighborhood may want to take.

One such exercise disclosed at least one family which hadn’t even stocked an emergency water supply and another family unaware they could shut-off the water from the water main to the house.

Hence, there may be some simple basic preparedness steps from which many of us could benefit. Maybe our motto should be, “neighbors preparing neighbors.”

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