Friday, March 12, 2010

on call

I am call this week for emergency social services, and I got my first call. I have been somewhat anxious, anticipating this, despite assurances from my team members that they would be there to support me, and that the job is manageable and rewarding.

On Wednesday morning, the emergency coordinator emailed to ask me to find out more info about a fire that had been reported in the news, but not called in to ESS. I phoned a fire chief and an assistant fire chief and asked for details about the incident. The aim was to find out if there was a possibility that their might be follow-up work for us. It turned out that people were evacuated, but they all found shelter with friends and family.

On Thursday afternoon, it was the real thing. I was called to assist a family whose apartment had burned. I was supervised and assisted in my work by an experienced member of the team - someone who I have worked with in other capacities for 30 years. We shared responsibilities and he guided me through the steps. By supper time, we had the family (luckily only one family) safely checked into a hotel, with food vouchers and information about their steps for follow up. The provincial emergency program covers 72 hours of accommodation, food and incidentals as needed. I just wanted to scoop up the people and take them home, thinking about what they must be going through. It was good to be able to help them find a safe haven at least for the short term.

Over the next couple of days I'll be doing follow-up work, checking in with the family, updating the provincial emergency office about the incident, doing a debrief with the team, then filing the paperwork. For a first experience this was a good one. I had a dry run on Wednesday to get me geared up, and I didn't even have to wake up in the middle of the night. I know there will be more complicated and challenging incidents, but I also know that I'm not on my own when I'm on call, and this is do-able. It's also a privilege to be allowed to help in this way.

question: have you been waiting for something new, about to happen?

mompoet - initiated

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