Opinion: Otter Point Emergency Management

Coordinator talks about the need to be prepared for emergency

Hello Otter Point neighbours, and others in the Capital Regional District. As the Otter Point Community Coordinator of the Juan de Fuca Emergency Management Program  I am bringing to your attention a generally unknown program of appreciable importance to us all.

The Pod Program relates to community self-rescue and management in the event of a significant and isolating disaster. While the time to assistance often quoted is 72 hours this may be very wishful thinking, Several weeks may be more realistic in the case of an exceptionally large snowfall, rain and wind storms with road destruction or a large earthquake/tsunami event.

The Otter Point District is divided into 34 ‘pods,’ approximately 25 households in each, geographically close neighbours. Ideally each pod has a ‘pod captain’ and an assistant who know of any particular skill specialties within their pod as well as of those who may require assistance in times of isolation or prolonged power loss/habitation destruction or damage. This type of response happens now on an ad-hoc basis as we saw in the great wind storm of 2006 however, the pod system considers longer term isolation, and is a more formal network with greater communication and potentially life saving rescue and intervention assistance.

As the local coordinator I have access to a limited store of emergency supplies and lines of communication for outside critical assistance as available, however the idea is for neighbours to take care of neighbours. Remember — help from outside is busy taking care of themselves.

I invite all  residents in the CRD, and especially the Otter Point District to

1. determine their pod number – a good map is found on the Otter Point Fire Department website, public info page under OP Emergency Planning Committee and the O.P. Pod Map link.

2. Get to know your neighbours.

3. Consider being a pod captain, or re-registering as one through myself at your earliest convenience.

Records are sketchy so if you are currently a pod captain, have disaster useable skills or would like to record any particular needs you may have (wheel chair-bound perhaps) please let me know.

This is not high maintenance stuff, but something we should all know about before hand, rather than after.

For more information on the Juan de Fuca Emergency Management Program or the Otter Point Emergency Pod  System please contact me, Al Wickheim at www.info@wilderquestadventures.com – 250-642-5124, cel 250-661-7123 or go to www.JDFEM.com.

Al Wickheim

Otter Point Community

Coordinator

Juan de Fuca Emergency

Management Program