BVESS Coordinator, Matt Herzog (second from the right) presents the Town of Smithers and local volunteers with recognition plaques after assisting in last years wildfires. | Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand
The Bulkley Valley Emergency Support Services (BVESS) are always looking for ways to expand their volunteer numbers.
Roughly 6 months ago, the BVESS hired a part-time coordinator in Matt Herzog.
“We at the BVESS provide individuals with support in their time of need. If someone has lost their home to say a fire, flood, or some sort of natural disaster, that’s when we’ll step in and provide up to 72 hours of assistance. We will supply all the basic human needs such as lodging, food, clothing, medication, and pet services. On a larger scale, we are the group who will set up and assist in reception centers if needed.”
As seen in the above photo, Herzog presented the Town of Smithers and volunteers with plaques for their assistance during last years wildfire season.
Recently, Herzog says they were contacted by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) to potentially lend aid during this years wildfire season.
“The RDBN called me two days ago to see what resources were available from our end. They were curious as to how many volunteers we had available to send to Burns Lake if needed. We’ve given them those numbers and now we are patiently waiting to see if they need any assistance. As of now, we aren’t sending anyone and honestly, it all depends on the schedules of each volunteer.”
Now, Herzog says his top priority is recruiting more volunteers.
“In the past year, our volunteer numbers have gone up quite a bit from where they were before. We had 10 active members and 13 standby members six months ago. We are now up to 42 members in total comprised of residents from Smithers and Telkwa. We are continuing to look for new volunteers. Any time that we set up a reception center, it’s very intensive in terms of man-hours. Anyone who is interested in providing any sort of disaster relief can come to see me at the Smithers Fire Department. I’d be more than willing to discuss the specifics with anyone interested in volunteering.”
Herzog says the BVESS team hosts training on the last Thursday of every month. On that day, they will practice things such as registering individuals and simulate what it would take to set up a reception center.