Sidney Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen recently made a presentation to community members about the Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO).
The meeting happened at the Mary Winspear Centre and Mikkelsen used the opportunity to give an overview of PEMO and how it is organized.
@SidneyVFire Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen presenting to community members about @PEMO Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization. @PEMO_SAR @PEMOCOMMS @PEMONEPP @PEMONEPP. #beprepred #sidney #yyj pic.twitter.com/NLeIMa82B6— SidneyVFire (@SidneyVFire) February 25, 2019
“I was able to give a snapshot of what we do and to let people know what we’re trying to do, going forward,” said Mikkelsen.
One of the key purposes of the presentation was to get the audience thinking of what they would do in an emergency.
“Many people are thinking about personal preparedness and developing a plan,” noted Mikkelsen.
PEMO, supported by the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association, is in place to react to almost any kind of emergency, from seismic activity to the release of hazardous materials.
PEMO’s Search and Rescue Team is a core part of the organization and operate round the clock, available to assist in missing person searches, evidence searches, and to provide disaster assistance support. The team may be called upon to assist police searching for lost hikers or to help in accessing and transporting injured people if specialized skills or equipment are needed.
PEMO Search and Rescue provide Ground Search and Rescue and Disaster Response primarily to the Saanich Peninsula areas of North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney. They also cover Willis Point and some of the smaller islands surrounding the Peninsula.
Through their emergency messaging system, subscribers can be alerted instantly of danger throughout the Saanich Peninsula. PEMO has the capability to send blanket alerts or to send specific messages to communities by their geographical location.
Some of the training projects reflect the diverse emergencies PEMO personnel are called out to, such as critical incident stress management and rope rescue.
Another important service is Emergency Social Services (ESS). If residents are forced from their homes by fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies, they may receive emergency social services for up to 72 hours. These can include food, lodging, clothing, emotional support, information about the crisis, and family reunification. There may also be additional support in the form of first aid, child minding, pet care and transportation.
PEMO is keen to brief people on disaster preparedness as well as actively react when disasters occur. Their communications team does, on average, one presentation to the public a week in Sidney and there were 23 ground search and rescue callouts last year.
On Jan. 16 while a group of PEMO volunteers were training, many of their cars were vandalized, causing extensive damage. The RCMP were informed and are investigating.
If you would like to know more about PEMO, you can visit their website at pemo.ca/search-and-rescue