Major Sheldon Feener, executive director of the Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre and Emergency Disaster Services and Salvation Army BC Spokesperson Patricia Mamic stand next to largest community response unit truck in the Canadian fleet, now stored in Victoria. (Courtesy of Patricia Mamic)

Mobile emergency response truck arrives in Victoria

Salvation Army’s community response unit can feed up to 1,000 people per hour

A 34-foot diesel truck equipped with stoves, fridges and freezers arrived in Victoria this week, ready to serve the region’s residents.

The Victoria Salvation Army’s new Community Response Unit (CRU) is the largest in the Canadian fleet, with the ability to feed and hydrate up to 1,000 people per hour. It’s replacing a smaller unit with the ability to feed 300.

Designed to respond in emergencies, the truck will serve first responders, evacuees and others in the event of a disaster, helping with response and recovery by providing food and water and access to support staff and volunteers. The CRU was brought in from North Vancouver and will be stored at the View Royal fire hall.

READ ALSO: Be Prepared: Food could be a premium in state of disaster

”We thought it wasn’t being purposed as well it could be,” said Patricia Mamic, spokesperson for the BC Division of the Salvation Army. “Victoria has a large region here, it’s an earthquake zone, there could be floods, fires and there is a homelessness issue as well.”

In the past, Salvation Army CRUs have been deployed during wildfires and snowstorms.

“We may not ever use this one for an actual emergency, but we are expecting ‘the big one’ at some point,” Mamic said. “Like the COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t expect this.”

The truck will be used to help feed people who are homeless during the pandemic, Mamic said. Although it’s full capabilities likely won’t be needed with many being moved inside, as per provincial orders.

“We’re thrilled to have it here ‘cause it’s such an asset to have emergency preparedness for the people of Victoria,” Mamic said, adding that the truck could also be deployed, as needed, to anywhere on Vancouver Island.

“We’re ready to go, if we needed to deploy it tomorrow, we’re there.”

READ ALSO: Be Prepared: Tsunami risk from Sooke to Sidney

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