Pemberton hosts annual Emergency Preparedness Open House 

Whistler fire danger rating hits 'extreme'

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOEL BARDE
  • Photo by Joel Barde

Emergency responders from several agencies got together on Saturday, May 11 for Pemberton's annual Emergency Preparedness Open House.

Robert Grossman, fire chief for Pemberton Fire Rescue, was on hand for the event, which was held at the Pemberton Rescue Fire Hall (1350 Aster Street) this year.

The goal is to encourage the public to be prepared for an emergency, said Grossman.

"Right now, with wildfire season, make sure that you are prepared to leave, and you know who the contacts are to get more information (from)," he said.

Members of the Pemberton RCMP, BC Wildfire Services' Pemberton branch, and Sarah Toews, the Village of Pemberton's (VOP) emergency program coordinator, were also on hand for the informal and fun event.

Members of the volunteer fire department set up a station—which featured a propane burner that emitted flames—dedicated to teaching the public how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

"We go through a little spiel and they learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and it's great," said Grossman. "A lot of people say they've got (a fire extinguisher) but they've never used it."

Paul Keenleyside, of the Canadian Red Cross's Emergency and Disaster Services, said emergency preparedness "cannot be emphasized enough" in the Pemberton area given flood and wildfire risk.

"Be prepared for 72 hours," said Keenleyside.

"Make sure you have your own personal emergency preparedness kit ... We at the Red Cross do sell a kit that can be bought at the Red Cross website at www.redcross.ca."

Some good tips on how to prepare for an emergency can be found on the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) website: whistler.ca/emergency.

Meanwhile, Whistler's fire danger rating climbed to "extreme" on May 11. Residents and guests are reminded to be extra vigilant.

"It is important that all residents and visitors respect the ban on all fires in Whistler this weekend for the safety of our community. This means no fires anywhere, anytime," an RMOW spokesperson said.

"If you smoke, dispose of your butts properly. There is no smoking allowed at any time on the Valley Trail and in Whistler's Parks.

"Take time now to prepare a personal evacuation plan for yourself and household and put together a 'go bag' with important documents, medications, pet supplies, water, snacks, cash and extra clothing. Keep it somewhere easily accessible."

Report all fires in Whistler immediately by dialing 911.

Fires outside of Whistler should be reported to the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 toll-free on most cell networks.

Find more at www.whistler.ca/fire.

Stay up to date on the wildfire situation in B.C. at www.bcwildfire.ca.

Pick up next week's Pique for more.

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