This coming week, from May 7 to 13 is Emergency Preparedness Week in Alberta. The need for being prepared was brought home in no uncertain terms to yours truly just this past week. On Thursday, May 4, a fire started just north of our farm near Altario that consumed about half a section and threatened our home.
The point of Emergency Preparedness Week is to serve as a reminder that emergencies can happen at any time for any reason. This past week also saw the Alberta Legislature’s Members from all parties recognize the anniversary of the Fort McMurray fire that decimated that area.
With the help of neighbours along with the Altario and Consort volunteer fire departments, they managed to get it contained before it could reach our farm. Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for the sacrifices and the huge courage our volunteer firefighters show every day while protecting our property and our lives.
In this case everything turned out alright, but if not for those who stand at the ready every day, this situation could have been a complete disaster for our family.
The most ironic thing about the fire this past Thursday was that I was scheduled to be in Donalda that evening to present Provincial Emergency Service Awards, and it was a pleasure to recognize the recipients – retiring Donalda Fire Chief Frank Sutton, and his daughter Tasha, an emergency services worker herself. It was not only a pleasure but an honour to recognize the two Albertans that have worked so hard to keep the community safe.
It’s important that everyone understand what emergency services you have in your area and how to contact them should you encounter an emergency situation. A lot of times we neglect these important details but they inevitably become critical should the need arise.
The Alberta government has events and information on their website through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency department.
Use this week to check your first aid kits, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment to ensure they are all in adequate working order.