Thursday, 30 June 2016

Ocean Ridge Fire

June 29, 2016,  I spoke to our community concerning the Ocean Ridge Fire.  This is the speech. 

OCEAN RIDGE FIRE

THANKS TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS EVENT. IT IS AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT TO PULL THIS TOGETHER IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
THE MORNING OF MAY 15, HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON MANY PEOPLE. MOST PARTICULARLY, THOSE WHO LIVED AND WORKED IN THE OCEAN RIDGE , AND THE OWNERS OF THE BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION NEXT DOOR WHERE THIS UNTHINKABLE ACT OF ARSON WAS COMMITTED.
CITY COUNCIL HAS BEEN ASKED, “WAS THERE A PLAN TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF EMERGENCY? “
THE ANSWER IS YES WE DID, AND IT WORKED MAGNIFICENTLY.
WHEN A WATER SYSTEM IS DESIGNED, ITS CAPACITY IS SIZED TO DEAL WITH THE WORST CONCEIVABLE EVENT. ONCE THAT CAPACITY IS KNOWN A LARGE SAFETY FACTOR IS ADDED TO ALLOW FOR A REALLY UNLIKELY POSSIBILITY.
DURING THE COURSE OF THIS FIRE THE DESIGN CAPACITY OF OUR WATER SYSTEM WAS EXCEEDED BY MORE THAN 300%.


EVERY ONE OF OUR FIREFIGHTERS AND THEIR 3 PIECES OF EQUIPMENT PLUS IN EXCESS OF 25 SURREY FIREFIGHTERS AND ANOTHER 6 FIRETRUCKS AND 2 PIECES OF SUPPORT VEHICLES FROM 7 SURREY FIREHALLS WERE ON SITE FIGHTING THIS FIRE. EVERY 3 MINUTES THEY DUMPED THE EQUIVALENT OF A LARGE BACK YARD SWIMMING POOL ON THE FIRE . THIS WENT ON FOR 6 HOURS.
THAT IS A LOT OF WATER.
I AM HERE TO TELL YOU I AM VERY PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE FIREFIGHTERS – BOTH WHITE ROCK AND SURREY. THEIR BRAVERY AND SKILL WERE MOST IMPRESSIVE.
BUT THIS IS NOT JUST A STORY ABOUT FIREFIGHTERS. THIS IS A LOT MORE THAN PUTTING OUT THE BIGGEST FIRE THIS PENEINSULA HAS SEEN. THIS IS ABOUT HOW A LARGER TEAM PERFORMED AND HOW THE COMMUNITY STEPPED IN AND SHOWED EVERYONE HOW A COMMUNITY SHOULD ACT,
THE RCMP HELPED EVACUATE PEOPLE FROM THE BUILDING IN THE FIRST INSTANCE AND THEN CARRIED OUT TRAFFIC , CROWD, AND SECURITY CONTROL FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE DAY. OUR MEMBERS WERE AIDED BY SURREY AND LANGLEY DETACHMENTS.

OUR PUBLIC WORKS STAFF ARRIVED SOON AFTER THE FIREFIGHTERS, AND SANDBAGGED DRIVEWAYS TO THE SOUTH BECAUSE ALL THAT WATER HAD TO GO SOMEWHERE.  THEY ALSO CONTINUALLY CHECKED THE WATERFLOW AND CAPACITYOF THE RESERVOIRS. WHEN IT BECAME NECESSARY, THEY BEGAN TO OPEN THE NEVER BEFORE USED CROSS CONNECTIONS TO SURREY.
AND THEN THERE WAS THE EMERGENVY SOCIAL SERVICES (ESS) TEAM FROM RECREATION AND CULTURE AND RCMP VICTIM SERVICES, WHO APPEARED AT THE ARENA BEFORE 6 AM AND RECEIVED THE EVACUEES AT THE ARENA AS THEY ARRIVED IN THE BUSES ORDERED BY THE FIRE CHIEF.
THIS GROUP PROCESSED THE EVACUEES, MOST OF WHOM HAD ONLY THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACK, AND PROVIDED ALL THE SUPPORT THEY COULD INCLUDING HOT COFFEE AND FOOD. LATER THEY ALSO ARRANGED FOR EMERGENCY LODGING AND FOR INSURANCE ADJUSTERS TO COME AND GIVE ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE.




IT WAS ABOUT AT THIS TIME THAT THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT  REALLY BEGAN TO KICK IN. BOSTON PIZZA SENT DOZENS OF PIZZA OVER; 5 CORNERS VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT SENT A VAN LOADED WITH SOUP; PEOPLE STARTED TO ARRIVE WITH FOOD, BLANKETS, CLOTHING, PET FOOD, AND EVEN FURNITURE AT THE ARENA. THERE WERE ALSO OFFERINGS OF EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION MADE AS WELL.
AFTER THE FIRE WAS OUT ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE FOR FIREFIGHTERS TO ENTER THE BUILDING , ONE UNIT AT A TIME, TO TRY TO SALVAGE PEOPLE’S VALUABLES FOR THEM. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THAT HAPPENING IN ANY OTHER COMMUNITY.
THE DAY AFTER THE FIRE, THE ESS STAFF ARRANGED FOR MORE INSURANCE REPRESENTATIVES TO BE AT THE ARENA TO ANSWER QUESTIONS . DONATIONS CONTINUED TO ARRIVE AT THE ARENA, AND THE LOCAL CHURCHES AND SOURCES BECAME INVOLVED IN THE ACCEPTANCE , STORAGE , AND DISTRIBUTION OF DONATIONS.
THE GENEROSITY AND SUPPORT CONTINUES.
LAURA CORNALE STARTED AN ONLINE FUNDRAISING SITE , WHICH QUICKLY GREW TO $20,000 BEFORE SHE HANDED IT OVER TO SOURCES. IT IS NOW OVER $45,000 WITH MORE COMING.

I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY PASTOR PETER KLEMMERTHAT THE LOCAL CHURCHES HAVE RAISED A FURTHER $30,000 , AND THAT ULTIMATELY, THE TOTAL AMOUNT THAT SOURCES WILL HAVE DISBURSED TO THOSE IN NEED WILL BE IN THE ORDER OF $110,000.
LOCAL BUSINESSES HELPED EACH OTHER OUT. OUR DISPLACED BARBER, MOE, WAS GIVEN SPACE AT SIN 7 , AND DISCOUNTS AND FREE MEALS WERE GIVEN TO THE EVACUEES. THE WOODEN SPOON CLOSED ITS DOORS TO SERVE A MEAL ON MAY 17 TO THE EVACUEES USING FOOD SUPPLIED BY PENGUIN MEATS , SEASIDE MARKET, AND WHITE ROCK BEACH BEER COMPANY.
THE LIST GOES ON.

I HAVE BEEN ASKED, “DID WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM THIS?”
THE ANSWER IS , YES WE DID.
WE LEARNED THAT IT PAYS TO HAVE GOOD NEIGHBOURS – WE OWE A SPECIAL GRATITUDE OF DEBT TO THE CITY OF SURREY.
WE LEARNED THAT THE THINGS THAT UNITE US AS A COMMUNITY ARE INFINITELY GREATER THAN THE THINGS THAT SEEK TO DIVIDE US.
WE ALSO LEARNED THAT , WHEN THERE IS AN EMERGENCY GOOD PEOPLE SHOW THEIR TRUE COLOURS AND STEP UP TO DO THE RIGHT THING.
THIS IS WHY I FEEL SO PRIVILEGED TO BE A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY AND IT IS WHY WE ARE HERE TODAY TO CELEBRATE OUR COMMUNITY.

THANK YOU