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General News · 13th February 2017
Chris Dragseth
It is an understatement that the recent snowstorm impacted all of us. Many survived the storm relatively unscathed, while others seriously struggled.

At times like this the resilience of our community comes to the forefront. How well were you prepared for this weather event? Were you able to cope during three days without electricity? What were your contingencies for power, heat, water and food?

Personal preparedness for this event, which certainly was an uncomfortable inconvenience, should be a “flag” or learning moment, for all of us in anticipation of a real disaster. For those who found themselves less than prepared, this is your opportunity to plan and be prepared for future events. There will be future events and some could develop into significant emergencies. We will have power outages. There will be storms. And in the extreme case, larger scale emergencies such as forest fires or earthquakes may put all of us at risk.

As we collectively gather ourselves, now is the time to look to the opportunity to “prepare”. As a reminder, Shaun Koopman, Protective Services Coordinator - Strathcona Regional District, will be sponsoring a workshop on Cortes, February 26 at The Klahoose Multipurpose building from 1pm to 5pm to learn more on how to be personally prepared. I am attaching a link to this recent article:

Finally, during times of emergency, volunteers are the backbone of a community response. Would you like to help your community in an emergency? Consider volunteering with Cortes Island's Emergency Support Services (ESS). You will receive training in personal preparedness and how to provide support to others. Volunteerism helps to build our Island's resilience in time of need. Attached is the link to an earlier article on the ESS Program:

In closing, feel free to contact me directly for further information.

Chris Dragseth
Emergency Support Services Director
Cortes Island

Warming Centre
Comment by Chris Dragseth on 14th February 2017
Thank you for your enquiry. Warming stations are something that could be considered by the local ESS program. To be supported by the local ESS Program, "warming stations" require the approval of the Emergency Management British Columbia in Victoria. Once approval has been obtained, our local Team then provides the support which is a minimum of two volunteers. In this particular incident, our local ESS volunteers were impacted by the snow and road conditions, preventing us from organizing a station.

With regard to potable water, the local ESS Program is not in a position to store potable water. The shelf life for commercial water is an interesting item. Health Canada suggests rotating your bottled water using the "best before date". The Canadian Bottled Water Association indicates that bottled water can be stored indefinitely depending on storage conditions but recommends rotation every two years.

Hope this helps,

Chris Dragseth
community support
Comment by shirley A. on 14th February 2017
Is there a community space that is equipped to offer a warm place during the day for people who don't have wood heat in their homes during extended outages?

Also is there any place that offers filling of drinking water during an outage? Having potable water stored is essential but it only lasts for so long...