Volunteers are an integral part of the Oak Bay Emergency Program.
“We are always looking for volunteers,” said Eileen Grant, emergency programs manager.
Volunteers are trained for three different teams; the emergency support services team, the emergency preparenedness education team and the emergency communications team.
Those who are interested can learn how to operate the Mobile Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV).
MERV can be used as a mobile reception centre in an emergency or as a mobile command post for the communications team, said Grant.
“We show them how the whole thing works, how it unpacks, how the communications people use it and show people how to operate the generators,” said Grant. “Then the firefighters help us set up a driving course and they take our volunteers through the driving course and get them familiar with MERV.”
If volunteers decide they enjoy driving MERV and are comfortable with it, they must go through subsequent authorization in order to operate the vehicle.
“The firefighters give us an opinion on whether or not they can really drive MERV,” said Grant.