An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ONE CAN’T fully appreciate the enormity of the job involved in looking after wildfire evacuees until you drill down to the small things.
As we go about our everyday routines, we take for granted the small but necessary details of life. But we certainly notice them when they’re gone.
One of the most important roles of government agencies and volunteers is to provide those things for the people who’ve suddenly been forced out of their homes. The objective is to make life as normal as possible in abnormal circumstances.
At a meeting held on the weekend of evacuees from the Ashcroft-Cache Creek area, the scope of the evacuation effort became clear from reports and questions.
Authorities must make certain, for example, that when they issue an evacuation order for a neighborhood or community, that anyone without use of a vehicle has a ride. That’s where a couple of school buses have become part of the evacuation effort.
Every effort must be made to contact the homeowners affected by an order, so as police go door to door to notify them that they have to leave, different colour ribbons are used to signify if the occupants have agreed to leave, refused to leave, or weren’t home.
In many cases, pets need to be rescued after the owners have left, or, at least, provided with food and shelter if they go with their owners. And then reunited later. Done.
There must be a way for family members to find each other if they don’t have cellphones, so there’s a registration process for that.
What about prescription medications that need renewing? Evacuees are driven to a drug store.
Got a trailer or an RV that needs to be parked? There’s a place for that.
Horses? The B.C. Livestock Producers yards are looking after them.
Need to go shopping for necessities but don’t have a car? There’s a shuttle for that.
No detail is too small to be overlooked, and if a new one comes up, it gets taken care of.
There’s nothing normal about being evacuated from your home, but those looking after the evacuees are doing their best to ease the stress.