Wickaninnish Community School students took in an Emergency Preparedness Fair on Oct. 19 to wrap up their participation in the Great British Columbian ShakeOut. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Tofino’s Wickaninnish Community School hosts Emergency Preparedness Fair

“We’re meeting with the kids, letting them know who we are, what we do, how to get a hold of us.”

Tofino’s elementary school students met their local heroes at an Emergency Preparedness Fair last week.

Organizations like West Coast Inland Search and Rescue, the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department, Canadian Red Cross and Canadian Coast Guard set up booths inside the Wickaninnish Community School gym to wrap up the students’ Great British Columbian Shakeout participation on Oct. 19. The event took place roughly a week after a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 170 kilometres off Tofino’s coast on Oct. 11.

“We’re meeting with the kids, letting them know who we are, what we do, how to get a hold of us and just, kind of, normalizing the conversation around emergencies,” the District of Tofino’s Emergency Program Coordinator Keith Orchiston told the Westerly at the event.

The school’s principal Drew Ryan said connecting students with their local first responders is key to helping kids feel safe in emergency situations.

“In the event of an emergency, whether it’s BC Ambulance, RCMP or the Coast Guard, these are the people that are going to be coming to help them and we want to make sure that they feel safe and comfortable and not nervous about that,” he said.

He said the Fair would be an annual event moving forward and that he and Orchiston planned to discuss potential collaborations moving forward.

“I will talk to my staff, students and families and get some feedback as far as how the day went and the information that went home. Keith will do that with the first responders and we’ll get back and build on it for next year so, we’re pretty excited.”

West Coast Inland Search and Rescue volunteer Garth Cameron said West Coast kids are adventurous and need to know how to safely explore their exciting surroundings.

“We want to be part of the community and we want to inform kids of how to adventure smart. Be prepared. Be prepared for adventure. Be prepared for camping. Be prepared for water activities. Be prepared for outdoor activities,” he said. “We need to learn to protect our kids and look after our kids in outdoor activities because the last thing you want to do is call SAR.”

WISAR welcomed its first search dog in training this year.

Raphael Roy-Jauvin of the BC Ambulance Service was delighted at the opportunity to bring local youth up to speed on what local paramedics can do.

“A lot of people don’t really understand what it is that we do, other than drive the ambulance and take them to the hospital, but there’s a lot of treatments we can provide to patients that can be lifesaving, in the case of anaphylaxis or the case of drug overdose,” he said.

“It’s important for the community at large to have that knowledge so, should they encounter medical emergencies like that, they’ll know who to call and that that person can help them.”

Cameron Weir of the Canadian Red Cross explained the Red Cross offers emergency social services “anytime anybody needs humanitarian support in the community.”

“The Canadian Red Cross is a volunteer organization and in Tofino we’re here to help with basic needs if a disaster arrives and people are misplaced from their home,” added Weir’s colleague Elysha Skipper.

“We’re excited to familiarize the kids with what we do and give them a little bit of extra information and knowledge. Knowledge is power so, if an emergency does come up, they’ll be better prepared to deal with it and a little bit more familiar with all the services in Tofino.”

Sgt. Todd Pebernat of the Tofino RCMP said familiarizing local youth with their police is vital.

“I’m excited, first of all, just to meet the students here. It’s always good to get out in the community and make contact with the people you’re serving. But, it’s also just really important just for young people to recognize me as a police officer, know what the police do, how we’re here to help them and assist them,” he said. “If people don’t know you, particularly young people, they’re not going to trust you and if there’s no trust they’re not going to come to you if they’re afraid or if they have something to report…We want all people, especially young people, to feel comfortable approaching us as police officers and asking us or talking to us about anything.”

John Forde of the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department said the event provided a great opportunity to help kids get prepared.

“As we all know, at any given time there could be an emergency in the home or in the Clayoquot area and all these kids need to know that the fire department is there for them and what they need to do to be safe during an emergency,” he said.

Tofino and Ucluelet both participated in an Island-wide emergency communications drill earlier this year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino’s Race for the Blue fishing derby casts philanthropic net

‘Thankful Thursday’ garners over 7,200 cans of tuna for local food banks

Tofino General Hospital Foundation raising funds for new equipment

“The doctors and nurses are worked off their feet.”

Ucluelet Co-op celebrates major renovations

“It’s just a job well-done.”

Surfrider Pacific Rim: Flash Clean Fridays

Grab your reusable gloves, bags and buckets and join Surfrider Pacific Rim’s newest initiative.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open during pandemic

Tribal Park Allies program needs more buy-in from Tofino businesses.

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read