Emergency Management Oceanside (EMO) has been extra busy helping residents affected by structure fires this year.
The organization has already responded to over double its yearly average number of structure fire-related activations, according to a presentation to Parksville council by Aaron Dawson, emergency program coordinator for EMO.
“In a normal year, we might see 15 and for some reason, whether it’s COVID-related or whatever it’s related to,” Dawson said. “We’ve only gone three quarters of the year and we’re at 35 already.”
Thirteen of the fires were in Parksville, three were in Qualicum Beach and 19 were in the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), he added. Twenty-one of the incidents resulted in direct need for emergency support services, which includes housing, food and items such as toothbrushes and combs.
Oceanside Emergency Support Service (OESS) also sent four volunteers to assist with the wildfires in the province’s interior. Dawson said the members spent 26 days helping the efforts there, which added up to 260 hours of support.
EMO provides professional 24/7 emergency support and has the capacity to develop and undertake preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery planning. The emergency programs for the City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach work in unison to provide large scale emergency support and disaster service to residents of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area.