St. John Ambulance provides essential flood response support

ST. John Ambulance volunteers are supporting response efforts to address the extensive flooding in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia – a testament to St. John Ambulance’s long-standing mission to improve the health, safety and lives of Canadians.

“Our efforts supporting the flood response and helping affected citizens across Canada are a reflection of our dedication and commitment to our history of caring and saving lives,” says Bill Alexander, National Coordinator – Disaster Services at St. John Ambulance Canada.

In Quebec, St. John Ambulance is actively involved in the flood response, supporting citizens and coordination efforts. With support from Ottawa volunteers, St. John Ambulance is providing evacuation assistance by boat and on land, first aid services at the reception centre, the emergency shelter and foot patrol in surrounding areas. A staffing of at least 10 St. John Ambulance volunteers are being maintained at all times in Rigaud.  St. John Ambulance is providing, on rotation with other non-government organizations, liaison function in the Emergency Operations Centre.

Responding to a request from the City of Montreal and the Regional Health Authorities, St. John Ambulance is assisting with the refurbishing of a closed Rivière-des-Prairies hospital pavilion to receive 125 patients evacuated from a nearby hospital.

In British Columbia, the threat of unprecedented flooding still remains and the message to “stay prepared” continues to be as significant as ever. Colin Basran, Mayor of Kelowna, is urging residents to prepare for dramatic flooding with 72-hour emergency kits. Residents are advised to have their kit ready to go, be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, prepare to move any children and/or disabled persons, and pets and/or livestock to a safe area, arrange accommodation for family, sandbag areas needing protection, remove items from below-ground basements to higher ground, and signup for e-updates from the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.

The flooding coincides with Emergency Preparedness (EP) Week, running May 7–13, serving as an additional reminder for people to take safety into their own hands to not just “be prepared” but make sure their families are “Emergency Ready”.

“Our charity is on a mission to get people SET for Safety with Safety Education and Tools at work, home and play and to be ‘Emergency Ready’. It is not enough for people to purchase a 72-hour emergency kit, to be really ready for any emergency, one needs to have an emergency plan, a kit of supplies, be trained to administer first aid and continue to maintain their supplies and skills for an emergency,” says Karen MacPherson, CEO of St. John Ambulance British Columbia and Yukon.

St. John Ambulance says people need to be aware that just by purchasing a kit or creating a plan, you are only halfway through the necessary stages of Emergency Readiness: Stage 1 – Create a Plan, Stage 2 – Build a Kit, Stage 3 – Train in First Aid, and Stage 4 – Maintain your skills and supplies. People are getting messages and advertising to “be prepared” and purchase a kit, but to be ready for an emergency one must be self-sufficient with supplies for at least 72 hours and have the up to date skills to administer first aid as needed.