NEST program helps prepare Mission neighbourhoods in case of disaster

Neighbourhood Emergency Support Teams (NEST) is organized by Mission’s Emergency Support Services

Coming together as a neighbourhood to aid each other during a disaster is the aim of a newly established program in Mission.

The Neighbourhood Emergency Support Teams (NEST) is organized by Mission’s Emergency Support Services (ESS) department, and works to identify the skills and resources useful in a disaster while organizing households in a structured way to respond safely to issues ranging from medical emergencies, uncontrolled fires, sustenance or communications.

“Often the most inspiring thing that comes out of a tragedy is not the stories of the agencies that responded, but the stories of neighbour helping neighbour,” said Mission Fire Rescue Service Chief Mark Goddard.

“NEST is designed to help these initiatives by bringing neighbourhoods together, and allowing them to realize that as a community they often have what they need to weather the storm of a disaster or emergency.”

Neighbourhoods that develop a team atmosphere find they can rely on each other’s strengths and skills to help everyone thrive in those first 72 hours, he added.

According to Monique Weir, ESS coordinator, the program is offered free to Missionites.

“And a neighbourhood can be defined as a group of homes, an apartment or townhouse complex, school, daycare, business, church or any locale where the same people regularly gather. It’s more of a neighbourhood plan.”

But this doesn’t preclude residents from having a personal preparedness plan, she cautioned.

“We still encourage people to be ready for emergencies. Every household should have 72 hours of emergency supplies and an emergency family plan. NEST is another level to that readiness.”

Weir said there are seven response units: leadership team, first aid, utilities and fire suppression, light urban search and rescue, communication and transportation, shelter and caregiving and damage assessment.

She said interested people would be assigned an ESS mentor to help them with the initial steps.

If this sounds like something you are interested in pursuing, contact Weir at 604-820-3788 or via email at missioness@mission.ca.

Learn how to:

q Work together as a neighbourhood to pool resources;

q Assist those in your neighbourhood who may need extra support;

q Coordinate response activities and work together toward recovery;

q Pack a personal preparedness kit.

Local hazards include:

q Earthquakes;

q Tsunamis;

q Floods;

q Landslides;

q Avalanches;

q Severe weather;

q Power outages;

q Hazardous materials spills;

q Wildfires and;

q Disease outbreaks.

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