Dave Easingwood, A Langley Emergency Program team member shows his son Keagan the behind-the-scenes duties of an emergency responder. (LangleyPrepared/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Program prepares Langley for emergencies and disasters

Langley Emergency Program holds first responder field day exercise at fire hall

Start the sirens and slide down the pole; The Langley Emergency Program (LEP) hosts an International Field Day exercise, Saturday, June 22nd.

Anyone interested in learning how to be a first responder during an emergency or disaster, people can come to the City Fire Hall for training.

“We are better prepared today as a community because of our volunteer teams’ contributions,” said Emergency Program Coordinator Ginger Sherlock.

Sherlock has been in her role for more than 12 years, having started out with LEP as a volunteer in 1999.

The LEP itself is a joint program run by the City and Township of Langley which started in 1996. Local governments were mandated by the province to ensure the community was ready to respond and recover from potential risks.

“It starts with individuals being curious,” Sherlock explained. “How is our community prepared for a five-day power outage? Or the big flood? Or an earthquake? From there, individuals become passionate about making a difference. They step up and learn how to keep their family safe.”

Read more: The Langleys practice for disaster

Beyond a behind-the-scenes tour, brand new response equipment and communication tools will be showcased – which people will get the chance to try out. The goal is to get new first responders up to speed on communicating properly with emergency officials.

Directions for families to follow during a major earthquake will also be demonstrated, along with the importance and assembly of an emergency response kit.

“Our team members have a direct impact on the well-being of those living in Langley every day – and beyond. We had 19 team members respond during BC’s wildfire season in 2017,” Sherlock said.

LEP team members giving the training demonstrations on Saturday are all volunteers – some of whom carry pagers at all times in case of an emergency. Though this event is meant to be introductory, Sherlock says it is a great start for people looking to get involved in higher capacities.

“We need first-responder volunteers willing to carry pagers and respond to support Langley citizens impacted by emergencies,” Sherlock said. “We also need HAM operators and technical-minded individuals, to support our ever-evolving communications team who set up communications linkages for first responders and officials during emergencies.”

Additionally, the federal government promotes Emergency Preparedness Week from May 5 to 11, which LEP also uses as a time for training.

LEP also hosts the Emergency Preparedness Fair during the fall support of the province’s annual earthquake drill, called “Shake-Out”.

Anyone interested in readying themselves for an emergency at International Field Day can drop in at the Langley City Fire Hall, 5785 203 Street this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and emergency tips, people can visit www.langleyprepared.ca.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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