Emergency Management BC regional managers Ian Foss (left), John Forrest and Jesse Ferguson award Eileen Grant (centre) emergency program manager for Oak Bay, in recognition of work done by community staff and volunteers for EMBC during the summer wildfires. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Wildfire work earns Oak Bay staff, volunteers provincial recognition

Emergency Management BC thanks local staff and volunteers for emergency support

Oak Bay staff and volunteers earned kudos, hats, handshakes and certificates of thanks from Emergency Management BC regional managers today (Feb. 28).

“We’re recognizing the program for the great work that they did this summer assisting us in the wildfires and the wide response to the wildfires,” said Ian Foss, regional manager for EMBC.

Foss, John Forrest and Jesse Ferguson arrived at Eileen Grant’s Oak Bay emergency program manager for Oak Bay, in recognition of work during the summer wildfires.

A provincial state of emergency was declared on July 7, 2017 and extended four times over the nine weeks that followed. About 65,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

RELATED: Greater Victoria emergency services volunteers pitch in to help wildfire evacuees

RELATED: 327,000 hectares burned across B.C.

RELATED: After 70 days, B.C. state of emergency to end

“We ask a lot of our volunteers and emergency staff especially in an extraordinary event like last summer’s wildfires,” Foss said. “If it happened again, we’d like to be able to lean on them and have them help us out again.”

EMBC dealt with an overload of calls as evacuees hit a high in the interior, they sought the help of emergency support service volunteers and staff who have the training required answer the myriad questions. Volunteers, trained to answer questions, manned the phones at the Provincial Emergency Co-ordination centre in Saanichton this summer.

“It was a great opportunity this summer to actually practice what we work towards, that is helping people during a disaster,” said Grant, emergency programs manager for Oak Bay. “We will hang the plaque with pride.”

Alongside the plaque, certificates were issued for Deputy Fire Chief Darren Hughes, Assistant Chief Gord Marshall and voluneers Dave Ranson and Ruth Schippers.



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