By Karen Idzik
The Lions Club of Arthur now has a better idea what members can do to help if there is an emergency in the area, or if there is another case of residents of another area evacuated to our town.
Wellington North Mayor Ray Tout and County of Wellington Emergency Management Coordinator Linda Dickson spoke to more than a dozen members of the Arthur Lions Club at their last meeting, explaining how service clubs can be of assistance in the case of an emergency.
Tout gave a brief overview of what had happened when the Sandy Lake residents had been evacuated to Arthur, and how the various service groups helped.
He said Arthur had the second biggest emergency operations centre of any community hosting evacuees, and received the most media coverage.
“We’ve set the bar,” he said.
He said that it’s great to know that, when the municipality gets into an emergency situation, there are groups such as the Lions it can rely on.
“Your club shone and rose to the challenge,” Tout told the Lions.
He said business owners were also fantastic and gave as an example Joe Walsh who arranged for all the necessary medications for all the evacuees.
Dickson said her job is made easier because she has a good team. She explained the Emergency Response Plan in place in Wellington County, which sets out the roles and responsibilities as well as emergency procedures, and even the recovery plan.
Volunteers such as the Red Cross, but not service clubs, are listed in the plan and it is being proposed that that be changed to include local groups.
Local groups will soon be able to help out as volunteers but the organization members must be trained, supervised and follow all Ministry of Labour regulations. She said groups would then be covered by WSIB.
She said part of the plan is to find out what skills are available, and build relationships with local groups so everyone knows what is expected.
Tout explained that Mount Forest Kin member Gord Trecartin is compiling a master list of all the local service clubs and what skills are available.
Tout said even the availability of someone to make photocopies, hand out notices door-to-door or knock on doors to check on people is important.
Dickson pointed out that the Lions Club members, with their matching shirts and yellow Lions vests, make then “go to” people and people feel comfortable asking them questions.
Other important roles service clubs can help to fill are donations management, assisting with transportation, collecting and distributing food, clothes, etc., and simply having a knowledge of the people in the area, knowing who might be at risk.