The Canadian Red Cross has placed many of its disaster volunteers on notice in case emergency management authorities in any of the Atlantic provinces require help, such as running reception centres or shelters as a result of wind, storm surge or flood damage or related effects like power outages or transportation disruptions as Arthur moves across the Maritimes and into Newfoundland and Labrador over the weekend.
“We hope Arthur’s impacts are minimal and our services are not needed at all, but we have volunteers ready to support any requests that may come our way from civic authorities,” said Rhonda Kenney, Atlantic director of disaster management with the Canadian Red Cross.
“We’ve participated in briefings with public safety officials in each province and completed our own readiness checks, such as ensuring our vehicles are fully fueled, mobile device and two-way radios are fully charged and tested, shelter materials are ready to go, and arrangements are in place with suppliers in case more is needed.”
The Canadian Red Cross has about 350 disaster volunteers in Nova Scotia, 260 in New Brunswick, 330 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 50 in Prince Edward Island. Teams in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were put on standby Friday since those provinces appear the most likely to see significant impacts from the storm.
In addition to its 990 primary disaster volunteers, arrangements with more than a dozen Atlantic businesses and community groups can quickly give the Red Cross access to a secondary group of volunteers under a program called Ready When the Time Comes. RWTC volunteers receive a basic level of Red Cross training but their real benefit to the Red Cross is their everyday expertise in fields like administration, customer service, finance, feeding, housing, human resources, logistics or volunteer coordination. Examples of RWTC partners in Atlantic Canada include A.P. Reid Insurance, Acklands Grainger, Atlantic Central Credit Union, Bell Pioneers, Husky Energy, Kent, Lions Clubs, Nalcor, Newfoundland & Labrador Credit Union, RBC, Scotiabank, Worley Parsons and the YMCA.
“We ensure we’re prepared, and we encourage the public to do likewise and create or update their household emergency plan and kit, using resources they can review or download online at sites such as redcross.ca/beready,” added Kenney.