Our neighbourhood of 42 homes is located near Lerwick Woods. We applied for funding from Neighbourhood Small Grants to purchase fire extinguishers and a multi-family first aid kit.

Cari McIntyre (Emergency Planning Coordinator for the CV) and Ian Robertson (City of Courtenay Fire Smart Rep) gamely stood in the sun on a Saturday afternoon and presented an informative and informal presentation on Fire Smart and Neigbourhood Emergency Preparedness stressing the importance of getting to know one another, as we will be the ones to respond to an emergency together and to recover together. Looking out for one another, especially in the aftermath is of paramount importance. The first 72 hours we will likely “be on our own”.

They stressed every household should have a grab and go kit and explained the Masters of Disaster Package, along with home Fire Smart handouts. Brief explanations were given on the material. Many questions were answered throughout the hour long presentation and Cari and Ian stayed afterward to answer others and provide further information on areas of interest.

A potluck BBQ followed where it was decided on two meeting places during an emergency. Neighbourhood children are designing a symbol that can be placed in windows to indicate a safe house for them. About 20 will be run off and the kids will walk around (with an adult) to see who might be OK with placing a card in their window.

32 people attended and 4 children. (original # confirmed was 41 adults and 7 children)

A Neighbourhood Map was made and distributed to all homes showing first names of adults and numbers of children and pets in each residence, as well as the location of our emergency equipment.

People were invited to attend by email and there was three follow ups of door to door contact. The first to obtain the information for the map, the second to confirm attendance and the third with rescheduling and location changes.

The event was postponed twice but we persevered and it was well worth the wait. Our final date, September 10, was blazing hot and although we were fortunate to have an awning a few people opted out of attending. Having an outdoor event made weather planning difficult but Covid and the size of the group meant it was preferable to hold in the open.

It is consensus that as well as receiving helpful information and prodding to be prepared; getting to know our neighbours was the highlight of the day. We are hoping to meet again for a spring follow up to put together a cohesive plan for our area.

Thank you Cari and Ian and Neighbourhood Small Grants program.

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